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I decided to join a gym so I can avoid weight gain and take charge of my health in general.

What mental health effects can I expect from this regular exercise? Do you think it is possible to be able to decrease meds once this gets rolling?

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it helped me not feel so gross about myself in a way because i wasn't as fat as i was before. but it hasn't really made any real change. my depressions keep getting worse along with all my other MI problems.

so i'd sum my experience as 'i don't feel so disgusting about my physical appearance'.

i hope others can inspire you in this because i think it can help a lot more than my experience.

grouse.

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There's lots of ways to exercize. For anyone who isn't already in great shape, aerobic stuff should be the bulk of a gym routine. Aerobic exercise will improve your mood, stabilize your mood, increase concentration, improve sleep, and somewhat help control appetite and food cravings. Exercize in general improves the functioning of a lot of things in the body, and one big thing is the combination of exercize and diet can improve hormone and transmitter production a lot and get all your cycles more solid. Really there's so many benefits it's hard to sum them up.

Drink 16 oz water before a workout, 8 oz for every 20-30 minutes during, and 8-16 after. Eat protein within 30-60 minutes after strength training. Remember that protein shakes and smoothies and stuff like that are actually massive excesses of sugar and carbs. Fresh fruit is better. And don't exercise within 2-3 hours of bedtime.

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when i was super into pilates (pre cfs of course) it was AMAZING how awesome i felt after a work out.

i'd get this like emotional float glow for several hours.

and the concentration required for exercise (esp. something like yoga, tai chi, pilates, etc) REALLY helped lower my stress level.

plus, once you've been working out for a while, your body just feels better... stronger, easier to move. and that's great for self esteem.

(this is reminding me to make an appointment with a physical therapist so i can start back on the exercise thing...)

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That effect is endorphins. It's still having some effect even a day later, but the tangible high only lasts a few hours for a gym workout. I've found that really intense, really long workouts, like a strenuous day-long hike, seem to release cannabinoids, and I get a euphoria that is much deeper and lasts until I wake up the next day.

Anyway most of the positive effects are more subtle than sudden chemical releases. Mood stabilization, for instance. You don't feel high, but you're more resilient and don't react as quickly to things with negative feelings.

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That effect is endorphins. It's still having some effect even a day later, but the tangible high only lasts a few hours for a gym workout. I've found that really intense, really long workouts, like a strenuous day-long hike, seem to release cannabinoids, and I get a euphoria that is much deeper and lasts until I wake up the next day.

Uh, didn't I say this?

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Well I had to go back and look, but no, you didn't. Anyway, are posters supposed to never repeat what's already been said? I was responding to the last post, saying that there are other mood effects than the relatively short-lived endorphins.

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Another recommendation that I don't think was covered (not really to do with the mental but more the physical) is remember to stretch before and after! Saved me a lot of aches and pains after doing anything physical, playing any sports etc...

Karen

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Heya,

OK, well, for me, outside is best.

Yesterday it was -20 here (don't know offhand what that is in Fahrenheit).

Very sunny.  My *favourite.*

I was out walking so much (3 hours) I got sunburn then had a rosacea attack, then thought it was SJS until the metrogel and benadryl kicked in.

I forget to go outside b/c I'm in the suburbs a lot.

Gym helps.

I feel so good the days when I exercise, and the days when I've *been* active for a while, that's it's pretty obvious.

Endorphins help.  Other things we likely don't know about yet, help.

Do what you can, safely, to exercise regulatry, ask your family doc or whoever (I'm starting to realize you Americans might have internists or gynes instead of family docs for primary care.  I'm a bit slow on the uptake, but I *do* get things if they're hammered into me enough).

--ncc--

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This will be my 3rd day at the gym. I prefer to go to our MetroPark and use the trails to run/rollerblade and do my pilates/stretches on the grass. But it is really crappy outside, so the gym it is.

I do 30mins of cardio and then 4 different ab routines- because I feel my tummy is fat--  and every other day do the arms and alternate wtih the legs.

I miss running and being outside, but I've got to make due.

I'm not really sore. This is strange. Normally I am after a hiatus from exercise. I'm 27 but this doesn't matter. Sore is sore. I always got sore from sports in HS and college (swam on my college team!).

But I feel better, and I think that no matter what the mental health outcomes will be, I will still do it just because of the huge physical benefits.

We all need to move our keesters/fannies/bottoms/rears!

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Right on!

  So many times people make every excuse in the book for not doing what you are doing.

I'm not really sore. This is strange. Normally I am after a hiatus from exercise.

My best friend, athlete  all her life says "the body remembers", and most likely this is happening with you. Apparently it hasn't been that long, and you are doing this right.

Good luck and GO FOR IT!

Breeze

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Other than things like hardcore pilates, most abs exercizes will not only not reduce your waistline, if you stick with them diligently they will increase it. The keys to a tight waistline are stretching exercizes and intestinal exercizes (which also go by other names in various, typically Eastern exercize systems). These things work on strengthening and tightening the internal musculature that really holds in your gut, whereas most Western "abs" routines, as the name implies, are building up your external abdominal muscles. While neither approach will spot reduce fat (do your aerobics), the abs approach will bulk up the muscles under the fat and increase your waist size.

Stretching stuff would be like any sorts of twists, back bends, side bends (hatha yoga cobra, triangle, whatever those twists are called). Intestinal exercizes involve pulling your belly button back to touch your spine, usually repeating this a lot, usually with some sort of breathing, but not always. It has the "side" benefit (to us vain Westerners) that it improves the functioning of digestion and many vital organs. If you care about the more Easterny stuff, it is also working energy flow through the second chakra and helping center you in your physical being.

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hi all,

  i agree that the aerobic stuff is probably the best for emotional stability, and i recommend at least 40 minutes.  it gives me a little buzz around the 40 minute mark (endorphins i guess).  the only other thing that does this seems to be lifting using my back, like theres this machine that you pull down at the gym i think its for the Latissimus Dorsi (i had to google that name haha).  and this other machine thing thats like rowing, that is also for your back muscles.  those ones seem to get me feeling nice, a little weird at the time, but feeling really good when i leave the gym. 

i also try to do the bench pressing and also the pectoral and bicep machine exercises, so that i can get all buff because im challenging Schwarzeneger for the governorship of California this upcoming december (but first I have to beat Gary Coleman to be the democratic frontrunner), lol.  but it just doesnt help as much as the back exercises or the aerobics. but yeah looking better will make u feel better a little bit too (but we MI are usually not that conceited lol).

i definately think the best thing to do to get started is use the bicycle or stairmaster at the gym, because they dont make you as sore as running outside on the dirt with all that impact on your feet.

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