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Body weight / strength exercising


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I've been an overall compliant patient for these past 15 years -- never overindulging alcohol, smoking, eating well, trying to sleep well. But one thing I haven't done -- something that comes up in standard advice sheet and AFAIK is well validated by research -- is exercise.

Exercise is boring. Jogging is boring, swimming is boring, cardio is boring and I'd rather have the 40-60 minutes I'd waste otherwise. My wife tries to encourage me to do anything. But hey, I'm living the life of the mind. Who can be bothered.

Well, in the past ten days I've discovered strength training. What, like bodybuilders? Sort of. By now I'm resigned that if I keep doing this kind of exercise I might get (small, but) noticeable changes in my body and people will tease me about it. But it's great.

  • You can do a serious workout in like 10 minutes time.
  • There's a number of exercises that use only the weight of your body so you don't have to be a gym rat. Push-ups, burpees, ab crunches...
  • I'm very sensitive to the effects of endorphin. If I can be bothered to run for a while with my wife, the high can be seriously euphoric and destabilizing. But this doesn't give me the euphoria. I think I'm mildly satisfied for the rest of the day, but not in an unbalanced way.
  • If you pick up an exercise schedule online (one rep is this + this+ this + that, do that as many times as you can take it), it can be a test of your will that gives you a sense of accomplishment that's hard to find in any other area (work, hobbies, etc.) 
  • It's interesting in almost a spiritual sense to "feel your body", inhabit it, if you've always been a head-in-the-clouds type. There's a dharma of push-ups to be discovered by someone.
  • I guess you can start easy if you're depressed (hell, two push-ups is something). This is a guess.
  • In retrospect I was nursing a (mild in intensity but) nasty mixed state, antagonizing people, picking up quarrels with my wife. I think this has been helping me sink a kind of angry pedantic energy. Only now I realize the bad vibes seem to have lifted.

 

There's mixed (as for the relative benefits of strength vs cardio) but abundant evidence on the effectiveness of this stuff for bipolar folk, if you google something appropriate. But this is my anecdote. Maybe there's other people who don't exercise because fuck jogging for half an hour. This could be a good choice.

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That's well stated.  Strength/resistance training does have a different effect on my mind and mood than aerobics.  And it can be done without weights or bands, etc.  I've been doing both for years because I am one of those people who have to exercise to not be depressed.  It is very much key to not think of having to do something exhaustive.  Just do what you feel like doing on a given day.

Edited by Will
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