me against myself (and the treadmill)

Tonight I won a battle I’ve been fighting for about a month. I finally made it to the gym. But it’s not just making it to the gym. I’ve done that a few times in the last month. But I felt something change. In fact, I really won the battle yesterday, because every success in life starts in the mind. What do I believe I can do? That’s the question that really makes the difference.

It’s interesting, as I have focused this month on the things for which I am grateful, to really see just what a wonderful life I have. There are very few things I have wanted in life that I haven’t received. Yes, some of those things were handed to me, but other things I’ve had to work very hard to accomplish. So, why haven’t I been able to be consistent in exercising? Something in my mind keeps me from doing it. I let all of these thoughts and feelings of inadequacy take over. And having been through hell recently has not helped.

Tangent – should you ever find yourself dating someone who feels it’s okay to say, “I’m sure someday I’ll think you’re as beautiful as other people think you are.” Run, don’t walk, in the opposite direction. I don’t care how great you think he is. I don’t care if he’s the best makeout you’ve ever had. I don’t care if he speaks French. I don’t care if he is brilliant. None of that makes up for someone caring so little about your feelings that he would say something like that to you.

Moving on…tonight I made it to the gym and it was amazing. I’m not in the shape I was five years ago, but you just can’t feel bad about yourself when you’re running on a treadmill. Even as I watched these girls who are in much better shape than I am, I thought, “I’m doing it. I’m here and I’m doing what I need to do.” As the Chinese proverb teaches, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

And there’s something so gratifying about feeling your heart pound against your chest and the burning in your legs as you push your body to its limits, even if it is the first step. Okay, so maybe not everyone feels quite like that…but you know you feel good when you move your body. Whatever your drug of choice, whether it’s going for a walk, attempting to play (is play the right word?) DDR, jumping on a trampoline, I promise it works. Maybe not the first time for everyone, but it does work. And it helps that I had on the really cute tracksuit pictured above.

Here’s a little excerpt of some findings that I thought were very interesting:
Effects [of exercise] on Emotional Disorders

Some research has suggested that exercise may have antidepressant effects. Although there is little strong evidence that exercise can help manage depression, a number of studies have suggested benefits. Research finding include:

Just 30 minutes of brisk exercise three times a week was as effective as medication in relieving the symptoms and reducing relapse in many patients with mild to moderate depression.

  • Over half of older women with depression that did not respond to medication improved with 10 weeks of exercise. (About a third of women who did not exercise also improved during that time.)
  • Studies on elderly, depressed patients report modest benefits from exercise, even in those who do not response to antidepressants. (Simply participating in a group activity may help improve mood.)
  • Teenagers who were active in sports have a greater sense of well being than their sedentary peers; the more vigorously they exercised, the better their emotional health.
  • A 2003 study found that physical inactivity is strongly linked to depression in children 8 to 12 years of age.
  • Here’s the link if you want to read more: http://www.well-onnected.com/report.cgi/000029_9.htm

    My advice for today? (Don’t you love that she who just started exercising is handing out advice?) Get up and move. It will make you happy! (If not today, eventually).

    *Please consult a physician before commencing any kind of exercise program.

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