My husband should probably be the one writing this post. He’s seen first hand the benefit of exercise on mental health. MY mental health. Five and a half years ago, after the birth of our first son, the post-partum depression and anxiety I entered into was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I wasn’t a stranger to depression and worry but this was different. Treatment took on several forms, including exercise— specifically getting back into the studio for classes!
Exercise can benefit mental health in many ways. For me, taking an hour for myself, focusing on something other than my worries, and interacting with people outside of my normal circles was refreshing. Not to mention things like endorphins, improved blood flow, feeling stronger, looking better, and often thinking more clearly!
While I was pregnant with my second son and on modified bed rest, I wasn’t allowed to exercise. One day we drove past the studio and I immediately felt more calm—it was startling! Just the thought of exercising made me feel better.
If you’re feeling on edge, tapped out, unmotivated, disinterested in things, get into class! Here are a few ideas for making it happen:
Schedule it. I know, when you feel mentally drained or pushed to your limits emotionally, creating time for one more thing may seem unthinkable. Put it on your calendar. Sign up online or using the Alkalign app. If it’s on your schedule you’re much more likely to get there. Set an achievable goal and work your way up to making it part of your routine.
Find a workout buddy. Of course this isn’t necessary, but it does help. If someone is waiting for you, it’s harder not to show up. Find someone to take class with: a friend, family member, or someone you meet at the studio. Or, let an instructor know you’re coming—we’ll look for you to be there! I’ll take a class with you sometime. Up for checking out a cardio class? It’s like a reset button for me some days!
Embrace the challenge! It’s exercise. Have fun. Be happy about the things you can do. Don’t fret over what you wish you were better at doing. Keep coming—focus and you’ll see changes!
Can’t make it to class? Do something. Take 5-10 minutes and get your heart rate up or do a few stretches. Walk around the block. Do a plank. It doesn’t have to be much. It will most likely make you feel better than five more minutes at your desk, laying on the couch, or staring at your phone!