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So I just started going back to the gym after I saw myself in the dressing room mirror. It's time to make some changes, I said! But I was concerned about being bp1 and being on a lot of sedatives and anti-psychotics. My dr said it's all right; she definitely encouraged it. BUt I haven't been to the gym since being diagnosed and starting my meds. Now that I'm going again, I worried about not being able to lose the weight that zyprexa holds on to, and also about increasing my metabolism without increasing my manicness. Not to mention the forced people interaction and self-esteem issues by being the fattest guy at the gym. (You gotta start somewhere -- if only it were that easy!)

Maybe this should be moved, I dunno, admin?

what are your experiences? do any of you have successful health club experiences? Has it helped/hurt your condition?

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Yeah, it helped me lots. I used to be in good shape, then two years in the wilderness post dx and a year of Zyprexa, and I wobbled again. I felt really self conscious at first, remembering how I used to look in all the damned mirrors. But, like you say, you have to start somewhere and the more you train, the easier it becomes, the better you feel about it and the more likely you are to keep it up. Never once felt like I was going manic, even though I was getting a huge rush out of it - just a 'safe' high.

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my roommate has been going to the gym and he's on meds for bipolar. he says he has to be really careful to stay hydrated because lithium is icky when he's dehydrated. he can always tell if he didn't drink enough during a work out.

i go four times a week, but for me it's more physical therapy for my back and knees than anything else. i think it helps keep my moods from getting as low, too, though. i'm not on any meds, though, so i wasn't sure if my input would help as much.

i say go for it. working out is something every body needs to keep it happy. we aren't meant to be stationary animals.

abi

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I am exercising my post zyprexa weight off and it is hard work but I am persevering. Never mind all the skinnier people in the gym, you have every right to be there, and since fatter people have relatively more muscle than most skinny people, if anyone makes a comment you can flatten them with your strong physique! ;)

I do martial arts, walking and I always keep saying I will get around to Yoga. I have never had issues with my meds, or with getting high from exercise. I think so long as it is all in moderation, it's fine.

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i have started back at the gym for the last two months and have lost 15.5lbs (7kgs) whilst on medication for bipolar and bpd.

the meds dont impact the training to much as i am over the inital drowsiness the meds caused when i first started them. i find it impossible however to get up early to excerise and find i must really maintain my regular sleep or i go a bit manic. i have to make sure, really check myself and say "ok you have exercised 6days in a row, today have a rest day" so i dont over do it and get in some manic state of crazy exercise.

if u are feeling self consious i recommend those cycle classes they do where you are in the dark room with the neon lights so no one can see you, just sit at the back and then you can ride at your own pace. exercise in the dark is good for low self esteem

good luck, i really think exercise is good overall for you and may help balance u out a bit :-)

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I started walking last year. It really is more therapy for me, and does seem to help. Especially when I anxious or upset. I can't seem to keep at it for more than about two months at a time. It seems to reduce my anxiety and tires me out that night so I sleep better. The next couple days I have bit more energy and spring in my step which is also a mental boost. I started walking about a mile and worked up to a regular 3.5 mile hour long route.

Do be sure to keep hydrated. I drink some water before I start, then have a glass of gatorade when I get back, followed by several more glasses of water. If you start getting tremors on the days after exercise, try adding a little salt to your diet.

Go for it!

a.m.

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I've been exercising of some sort or another ever since middle school. Thank goodness for that because I've have such depression and low energy I don't know how I would ever start at this point. I've just kept doing it. If I were to stop exercising I would feel like I've totally given up and am not able to do anything. I used to be into powerlifting but now I just do tiny workouts. As long as you're doing something, that's the important thing.

It used to be therapeutic. I can't say it is anymore although it probably has therapeutic benefits that I'm not aware of unless I were to stop. Health is very important. When I'm an old man I don't want to be disabled because of being elderly and frail when it could have been prevented, along with a whole host of other illnesses and disease.

People shouldn't be judgemental of overweight people in a health club because they are the ones who need it the most! If use an iPod you shouldn't need to talk to people.

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I know for a fact that my tae kwon do classes have a huge mood-stabilising effect for me - when I was living in Plymouth last year and not training, I had two bad depressive episodes and one near-psychotic episode. Now, I go to training 3-5 times a week and am off meds altogether! ;)

I also joined a gym last week in a bid to ditch at least some(!) of the seroquel wobble before going on holiday at the start of June. I was pretty nervous (never having set foot in a gym before), but the three times I've been so far have been fine: I don't speak to anyone, but nor do lots of other people. They're there to work out, not socialise. I'm also starting to feel more comfortable going as I get used to an unfamiliar environment (I hate going to new places on my own), and - most importantly - I really enjoy the work out!

Keep it up xx

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I have a bizarre relationship with exercise, though more due to my neurological/neuropsychiatric condition than my bipolar. Anything beyond a hectic day's running around can trigger my symptoms (including the double vision, which is a Bad Thing in terms of driving).

Exercise helps me to focus, I find... during exercise, no less. Which is interesting, since my form of exercise (bicycling), there's not much to focus on (well, only if you're on a stationary bike, as I am, when I'm on my third wheel trainer).

I tend to listen to music with an intense beat while cycling the pedals. It somehow seems soothing... a pleasure rather than a pain... something to look forward to rather than dread. Though, music by itself is therapeutic to me, so YMWV.

Overall, I have the impression that exercise = good.

[EDIT: interestingly, my former tdoc in Indiana, a runner, told me that the monotony of running allowed negative intrusive thoughts to occasionally come up... I suggested he use music and it worked... can I get a $16 refund?!?!?! ;) )

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Great topic. I'm bipolar and ADD, and exercise helps me greatly. It boosts my energy and my self-confidence, both of which have been problems for me. I feel my most balanced times are times in which I exercise diligently. Having said that, exercise has never cured my problems, and I'd be a disaster without medication.

I enjoy jogging, and am trying to apply myself to a family member's Soloflex. Because of mood and energy, I've had to really force myself sometimes during depressions, sometimes jogging like a crippled zombie. But I do it, if I can. Sometimes all I can do is walk.

A couple of interesting things I've learned that you may be interested to know:

- A (Duke? Uni of Pitts?) study determined that people with moderate depression were helped as much by 30 minutes aerobic exercise as 10 mg zoloft.

- Try for 8 minutes. My therapist told me that 8 minutes is all you need to make a difference. On the days it was incredibly difficult, I'd push for just 8 minutes, even of an easy activity. Then, I told myself, I could go back to my suicidal catatonia. ;)

- Especially if you take lithium or are in warm weather, careful about staying hydrated.

- People with psychological problems and without them report clearer, more inspired thinking during physical activity. On the other hand, intense activity is really wonderful for "numbing" your mind for a while, and sometimes, that's just what I need.

- You sleep better if you get regular exercise.

- The times you "don't feel like" exercising are precisely the times you need to--energy levels get a boost after exercising, as counterintuitive as that sounds.

- If being outside or around people causes you distress, exercise inside. Look online for aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercise suggestions, buy a $5 jump rope, pull the blinds and dance/lipsync/air guitar until you sweat...something. There are options.

- Do it as regularly as you can. Set a small goals, and go for it. Don't beat yourself up for being unable to exercise.

Read some of the literature online about exercise and your specific illness. There's some really fasinating stuff.

Stumptuous.com has some fantastic information about exercise and diet, period, whether you are mental interesting or not. (Or into weights or not--she may get you to change your mind!)

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When I exercise regularly I feel better and I am also better able to keep my hectic life in order. Needless to say that, aside from the dogs walking me around the circle I live on, I haven't exactly been exercising anything more than the arm I need to bring Oreos up to my mouth.

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i was a runner, in very good shape when i gained my Z weight. i'm 5'4 and was 130lbs (mostly muscle), and i went up to 155 in fat. i was horrified!!! i can't tell you how horrified! now, maybe to some people that wouldn't be a problem. but for me, someone who was running and trying to be fit, it was a huge issue.

i joined the gym and weight watchers at the same time. i think both were responsible for helping me to feel better and lose weight, but i'll talk about the gym. i was an average size person for someone there, but i could give a damn. i just did my weights, did my bike, and went home. on the off days i went for walks and jogs.

i was losing about 5 lbs a week, and then it slowed down, and i weigh 110 now. i lost over 40lbs in about a year because i exercised and learned how to eat right.

exercise for me is fun. i start out in the beginning doing it because i have to. i put on my running shoes and drag my body outside. but after about a mile i'm enjoying myself and i'm happy i'm doing it.

there are lots of kinds of exercise- WZ and abi belly dance! hey, what you like that gets you moving is what will work. as abi said, we're not supposed to be just sitting around eating bon bons.

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Hi, Pruil summed up what I would say pretty well. I consider exercise to be non optional. The benefits in mood, anxiety, self esteem, sleep make it better than any pill you can swallow and the side effects are only positive. Like Pruil said, when you feel like exercizing the least is when you need it the most. I routinely force myself to exercize 6 days a week (on the seventh day I drink and smoke ;) Seriously, I don't think I could manage without it. For me, it's like an addiction based on mostly negative reenforcement because I'm used to it and feel like shit if I stop for too long. It's kinda ironic that I wind up looking like an athlete just cause I want to maintain my job/marriage/sanity with a desperation. In gyms, people are focused on themselves. In my experience (especially in small gyms) there is a culture of non-judgemental inclusivity: you're there to get fit and that's respectable. The longer you attend a gym the more that's true. I think many people at gyms worry about feeling judged and are focused on getting themselves healthy rather than judging others. Like meds, it will not cure anything...but the benefit (and lack of side effects) make it something I think we should all do.

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I was told that exercise would do wonders for me. I was told that if I exercised at least three times a week, I would feel so much better about myself, and my mental and physical health would improve greatly. I was told that even just walking would be beneficial.

So I was told.

I keep believing these things every once in a while, and I've tried them - off and on - throughout the years. Oh, I've tried everything I can think of. Lately, my options are limited, so mostly - I walk. I was a walking fool after my car accident because I *had* to walk everywhere - the bus system around here sucks rocks. I walked over five miles a day on average, two miles of that to work before they fired me. I even joined a gym once or twice and went very faithfully for months and months - mostly because I didn't want to waste the money I'd sunk into the membership fees.

What did I get for my troubles? Bad knees, a sore back, and allover tiredness at the end of the day. It helps a little with hypo-mania, but that's about it. Did it help with my depression? No. Did I feel better about life in general? No. Did I lose *any* weight, *ever* to exercise? NO!

I feel cheated.

I'll still walk because I like to walk, it gets me out of the house. But, I just want to say that I'm one of the few people that *hasn't* reaped the benefits of exercise that people claim is so good for everyone.

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