On the eve of Robin William’s tragic death which might have been by choice, or if nothing else, at the end of a long struggle with mental health, I would like to share a personal story…while related to physical exercise, it’s not about the physical side of fitness today, but rather, this post is about the “mental” side of health.
Mental health. Often overlooked for muscles, biomechanics, human performance or athletics, cosmetic appeal, and more, yet mental health claims are very high for American health insurance claims. Muscles don’t matter much if one is chronically depressed…or dead.
As a person who has exercised nearly eight full years in a row seven days a week and 365 days per year, I can speak to the “mental benefits” of movement. It’s been an interesting experiment the last seven plus years; today will be my 2,778th consecutive day of exercise. On most days, I did NOT feel like exercising. Many of the days, I dreaded exercising, or I was in a bad mood, or at times even feeling down and overwhelmed with life, yet this is my point today–100% of the time my mental mood improved after my exercise session even though often I just go for an easy walk, play frisbee with my kids, or do some other sort of exercise that is fairly low intensity. Research cites the “Runner’s High” from long endurance runs or that euphoria that can accompany high-intensity intervals or other hard core workouts, yet I got mood enhancement even with low intensity exercise–every single time.
Mood, Mojo, & Mental Health Tips for Exercise:
- Do it daily.
- Don’t stress or worry about intensity–I felt better no matter what level of intensity from easy to hard.
- Get outside. Studies I have seen about the same exercise level and activity inside vs. outside show that the outside person gets more mood enhancement. We are not wired to be inside and still all day. We are wired to be outside and moving. Don’t fight nature…join it even if it’s just walking around your block.
- Breathe. Along with mental health, breathing is often overlooked. My 30 minutes per day is a good time for me to evaluate my breathing…inhale…exhale…repeat…you will feel better. 🙂
Exercising and getting a mood improvement with 100% success is the only thing in life I have ever done with a 100% success rate. Think about it…while moving.
If you need help getting into a “30 minutes per day exercise routine,” please visit our 30X30 Challenge Page.