We’ve all been told about the benefits of exercise in relation to our mental health many times over. Up until the past few months I was pretty much unable to perform any kind of serious exercise for almost six years. I had two displaced discs in my back. I was due to get an operation on them this year. By some miracle the condition cleared up a couple of months before the operation.
I’ve mentioned on here before that I’m currently sitting a performing arts degree. One of the reasons I took this up was because prior to that I felt I was virtually unemployable. I was in trouble both physically and have a mental health history. Now things look much better. Saying that I reckon I could have still managed as a self employed person.
So I took up running. I’m doing one of those couch to 5k programs. I’m now up to running continuously for 30 minutes. Has it been easy? Hell no. I’ve discovered you need both patience and drive to get up to even this basic level.
Runners often talk about ‘the high’ you experience after a run. I was joking with Elle the other day that I wasn’t so sure it was a high and maybe just a huge sense of relief that the run was over… especially in recent temperatures. But that was a joke. Yes you most definitely do get a high. Once the general lift has receded I’ve discovered a thing about that rush of endorphins, it’s really good for making low level anxiety recede.
I think around 95% of us have an everyday type of low level anxiety. It’s the little things, bills paid on time, family concerns, how is work, relationships with others, what’s the future, will U2 ever release a great album again…that kind of thing, the niggles.
Of course we also all fully understand that if you’re not in a good place the idea of taking up exercise can seem as achievable as a trip to the moon. So my advice on this would be if you don’t feel capable today don’t dis the idea entirely in regards to tomorrow.
Being incapable of many basic physical activities for six years certainly gave me an appreciation of the benefits of exercise once I was able to participate again. I think I’ll keep going. Fingers crossed the back holds up.