dancesintherain

exercise and mental health

58 posts in this topic

this isn't the did you do it thread--this is the so you did it, now what thread.

i know the physical benefits and i need them (weight loss and getting into shape being chief among them).

but what exactly am i supposed to benefit from mental health wise? i hear talk of endorphins and believe me i don't feel any when i do it.  i'm not as consistent as i should be--i'm consistently on the weekends (saturday and sunday both usually) and i pick up the holidays (like today), but during the week is really hard.  so maybe i'd get this endorphin stuff if i did it during the week?  is that the problem?

or are there just people for whom there's no mental health benefit even if there might be a physical health one?  i did at one point love hiking (i'm too out of shape to do it now), so maybe that's a mental health benefit. not that it's current, but i could possibly see it as one if i try really hard.

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For me, the mental health benefits seem to be pretty short lived. That is to say, if I'm currently depressed or anxious, and I do manage to exercise, I'll feel better for a few hours afterwards, before sliding back into my previous state. How long I experience a benefit varies. For example, if I'm anxious about a certain situation (rather than just generally anxious), going for a run an hour or two before hand can calm my anxiety enough that I am able to face whatever the situation is - although it may still make me anxious, it's more manageable. When depressed, I may feel a mood boost while exercising and for an hour or two afterwards. But the next day, its back to the original mood state. I've been depressed even when I was a serious athlete in high school. I often tend towards more agitated depression (although perhaps now that I'm actually diagnosed with bipolar, I wonder if some of these might actually have been mixed states) so managing to exercise is easier than when I have more typical (can't remember the word for it) low-energy, low motivation depressions. 

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IME, exercise and feeling better mentally do not go hand-in-hand.  Exercise does not help me mentally at all (in a positive way) ... in fact it makes me worse because of the stress of being outside or just doing stuff inside.  So if I want to feel "good" (for lack of better words), exercise will solve no problem, even temporarily.

Plus if I am depressed, there is no way I can exercise.  Just the thought of it seems like a chore that I am not dealing with.

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It's never helped me mentally or emotionally.  Sometimes it makes me feel worse.

I get very sick of/cranky about being told that it's essential to my mental health because it's fucking not.  Ugh.

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4 hours ago, tryp said:

I get very sick of/cranky about being told that it's essential to my mental health because it's fucking not

Me too.  I can't stand when people tell me to get out more ... meaning that exercise can help with the emotional stuff.  It does. not. work.

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Excercise... it's fun if you go to a gym classe, you are with people, you feel more energetic, your body is healtier, you feel less tired, sleep better, ... this improves mental health indirectly.


 

 

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Maybe a sense of accomplishment. I don't feel much different. 

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thank you all.  I thought I was missing something big because I've also always heard the "it's great for your mental health."

I'll try my best to keep at it for physical health reasons/desperation, but I won't go around expecting the mood boost.

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I do feel an endorphin rush if I push my heart rate high enough. However, I don't know if it impacts my overall mood the rest of the day much because I find it hard to consistently exercise when I'm tired and feeling unmotivated (which is most days).

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I walked at a moderate pace today for 40 minutes and felt mildly euphoric during the middle and end of my workout.  

Being outside and getting that adrenaline and endorphin going was amazing.  

This is from a girl who weighs 315 pounds and has chronically high inflammation.  

If just walking can make me feel that wonderful then I'm guessing the runners high thing is probably better than sex.  :-). 

Feeling great is important to me because I have medication related sexual dysfunction.  

At least I can feel endorphins!  

Ymmv

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I'm glad you posted this cause I thought I was the only one!  I have never in my life experienced any endorphins,  or runner's high, or whatever you call it after exercise. Not one bit of it, no matter how hard I exercise. 

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Its overrated. Only thing I get after exercise is sweat, dehydration, and wanting to die. During, well, I could write a book on the negative garbage that happens to me when I even just walk, yet alone try to exercise (never)

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I don't make myself do it. I do stuff I enjoy, like horseback riding or jumping into lakes and climbing up 20ft rocks and jupming back in. I can horseback ride whenever, my roommate owns a farm, and has a mule that needs... an experienced rider, he's small, I'm small, so I got volunteered. (That's the law of horses, if you're small and older, you ride all the jerk ponies.. usually referred to fondly as "cheeky") Trail riding, we do "extreme trail" and its relaxing (well, some parts are terrifying, but its fun) is nice in good weather and doesn't feel like exercise. But you get home and your ass is bruised from it, and the next day your legs fall off. But it was fun. Same with jumping. Adrenaline rush. When I was doing 4-5ft it took a LOT of effort/strength/dumbassery, but it felt so good. Even barn chores are fun with wine.

But like a gym. Or running. Nope.

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5 hours ago, Hopelessly Broken said:

During, well, I could write a book on the negative garbage that happens to me when I even just walk, yet alone try to exercise (never)

Me too ... exercise isn't always good for my Mental health.

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I'm glad some of you get the endorphin boost at least.  I just feel achy and bad about myself for being out of shape.  But I'll supposedly keep it up.  I'm not sure I can safely go on a walk when it's dark outside, which means I should use the gym, but I hate the gym.

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8 hours ago, dancesintherain said:

I'm glad some of you get the endorphin boost at least.  I just feel achy and bad about myself for being out of shape.  But I'll supposedly keep it up.  I'm not sure I can safely go on a walk when it's dark outside, which means I should use the gym, but I hate the gym.

Any chance you can get a treadmill?

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8 hours ago, dancesintherain said:

I'm not sure I can safely go on a walk when it's dark outside, which means I should use the gym, but I hate the gym.

Even though I do exercise regularly, I don't particularly like the gym. Is there a way to add even a bit of exercise when its not dark, such as going for a short walk on your lunch break? Or how about looking up yoga videos (or something else) on youtube and do them at home? If your comfortable exercising around other people, you could also see if there are classes at the gym or elsewhere - the community college near me has dance classes and some other stuff that are open to the public for a small fee - that would be more fun for you than the treadmill?

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I need to be active every day for it to have an effect. But it can be powerful when I keep that up.

It's a lie, though, that activity means going to the gym. While I'm sure it does for some people I certainly cannot go to the gym every day, and that expectation causes me to beat myself up. Instead, I have an active lifestyle, and that's enough for me. So I use active transportation (bike where I can, or public transit or walking otherwise - I'm fortunate that the public transit here is pretty good, and I've had to move in order to live in an area that lets me live this way). I also just walk up to the second-closest major street sometimes, just to get outside. Then I walk back. It's about 8 minutes each way.

I need to be moving pretty much all the time. But when I can do that, I feel a lot better for it. Nothing makes me freak out faster than when I feel trapped or constrained or like I need to move and I can't. You can imagine that I do very well at school :/

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5 hours ago, thunder said:

Even though I do exercise regularly, I don't particularly like the gym. Is there a way to add even a bit of exercise when its not dark, such as going for a short walk on your lunch break? Or how about looking up yoga videos (or something else) on youtube and do them at home? If your comfortable exercising around other people, you could also see if there are classes at the gym or elsewhere - the community college near me has dance classes and some other stuff that are open to the public for a small fee - that would be more fun for you than the treadmill?

lots of good ideas.  i'm not sure any would really stick, but i'll try to reconsider my gut reaction.  lunch is sadly not an option--i'm usually working through it.  i do yoga from home when i can, but only have the endurance for 20 minutes. and although that's better than nothing, it's probably not going to get me in shape any time soon.  Becuase of that, there's no way I'd survive a group class.  I'd be comfortable around others, but I don't have the endurance to handle anything decent.  it's a bit of a predicament.

Rosie, I don't necessarily take things like the walk to and from the train into consideration, so that's at least something.

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Here is a very motivating video (about 9 minutes, worth seeing all of it):

 

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I love long-distance running and going to yoga. I feel very zen when I do both, and pretty cheerful for several hours afterwards. HOWEVER, something that has always been interesting to me is that I really have to be on top of getting appropriate rest and nutrition when I'm working out regularly - otherwise, something about the physical exhaustion that goes along with exercise eventually makes me REALLY over the top emotional and nutty. I've always wondered if anyone else experiences that. 

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4 hours ago, alawyerperson said:

 something about the physical exhaustion that goes along with exercise eventually makes me REALLY over the top emotional and nutty. I've always wondered if anyone else experiences that. 

It just  makes me want to die. Is that what you mean?

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I always feel better when I'm exercising regularly, and hard. I suppose it's partly the endorphins, though those wear off pretty quickly; mostly I think it's because it takes my mind off my mind, and wears me out, and gives me a sense of control over myself. My problem is that I have a genetic condition that makes my joints weak, so I inevitably get injured, and have to stop to heal, and start all over again. Which sucks.

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17 hours ago, dancesintherain said:

lots of good ideas.  i'm not sure any would really stick, but i'll try to reconsider my gut reaction.  lunch is sadly not an option--i'm usually working through it.  i do yoga from home when i can, but only have the endurance for 20 minutes. and although that's better than nothing, it's probably not going to get me in shape any time soon.  Becuase of that, there's no way I'd survive a group class.  I'd be comfortable around others, but I don't have the endurance to handle anything decent.  it's a bit of a predicament.

Rosie, I don't necessarily take things like the walk to and from the train into consideration, so that's at least something.

I understand the difficulty with lunch. When it starts to get dark outside, I always tell myself that I'll try to workout at lunch (I work at a college where I could use the gym locker room to shower before going back to class), but I never really manage to for more than a few days. I usually just suck it up and put on a headlamp and run in the dark, but I'm also male and live in a safe area with good sidewalks, so I know that's not always a good option for everyone. 

It sounds like you take public transit regularly. Is it possible to get on one stop farther away from home, or get off one stop before your destination? I know that not all transit systems are laid out in a way that this is practical, but I used to do this in graduate school on days when I didn't have time to work out.

If you enjoy yoga, but can only do it for about 20 minutes right now, how about trying to add a little bit of time each week. Even if only you add 2-3 minutes each week, you'll be up to about 40 minutes by New Years, which I'm sure would put you in a similar place to a lot of people at a gym at that point. I'm not saying you have to do it this way, but it's what came to my mind. 

It also helps for me when I've fallen off my exercise goals to think of getting back in shape as a two-steps forward, one-step back kind of thing. That is, there may be days or weeks or whatever where I don't meet my goal, but I try the next day/week just pick things back up and keep working at it. Easier said than done.

Edited by thunder

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On 11/11/2016 at 10:45 AM, dancesintherain said:

this isn't the did you do it thread--this is the so you did it, now what thread.

i know the physical benefits and i need them (weight loss and getting into shape being chief among them).

but what exactly am i supposed to benefit from mental health wise? i hear talk of endorphins and believe me i don't feel any when i do it.  i'm not as consistent as i should be--i'm consistently on the weekends (saturday and sunday both usually) and i pick up the holidays (like today), but during the week is really hard.  so maybe i'd get this endorphin stuff if i did it during the week?  is that the problem?

or are there just people for whom there's no mental health benefit even if there might be a physical health one?  i did at one point love hiking (i'm too out of shape to do it now), so maybe that's a mental health benefit. not that it's current, but i could possibly see it as one if i try really hard.

PDoc and GDoc in particular are very pro excersize.  They said therapy meds and 45 minutes on a treadmill 5 days a week is the trifecta.  Bonus might be the sad light.  I want to say its difficult - I find excuses and its boring unless I'm at the hospital talking to one of the nurses or another of the heart patients.  I can't believe I had a heart attack in my 30s...  Anyway its guilt city that I've blown it off and I think it really is contributing to my current malaise.  Music helps.   Reading is also good.  Not doing anything?  Too boring.

On 11/13/2016 at 11:05 PM, TakeAChillPill said:

I walked at a moderate pace today for 40 minutes and felt mildly euphoric during the middle and end of my workout.  

Being outside and getting that adrenaline and endorphin going was amazing.  

This is from a girl who weighs 315 pounds and has chronically high inflammation.  

If just walking can make me feel that wonderful then I'm guessing the runners high thing is probably better than sex.  :-). 

Feeling great is important to me because I have medication related sexual dysfunction.  

At least I can feel endorphins!  

Ymmv

Either your doing sex wrong or you know something about walking that I really need to learn!!!

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