if I had any advice to give to anybody suffering from some form of mental illness it would be to exercise. I’m not exaggerating when I say exercise probably saved my life. being a generally lazy person I can admit that sometimes it is hard to get yourself into an exercise regime. sitting in front of the t.v, watching biggest loser and judging all of the contestants seems much easier than getting off your bum and going to the gym. while doing copious amounts of squats and burpees has not only managed to tone my body and enhance my flexibility, it also has kept me (moderately) sane– and here are some reasons why;
1. exercise gives you endorphins
“..and endorphins make you happy. happy people don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t”
I know I just quoted legally blonde which pretty much nullifies my argument, but elle woods totally has a point. when you workout you seem to have a happier disposition, are less aggravated and are therefore less likely to commit a drastic act like shooting your husband (or boyfriend, or partner, or friend, or housemate, or whatever).
2. exercise is good for self esteem-
and if you have high self esteem you are less likely to be depressed.
even if you are at the start of your fitness journey, you will notice how much better you start to feel about yourself virtually the second you start exercising. my problem with exercising was that I never used to be patient enough to wait around to see results and therefore couldn’t maintain it. when I didn’t see physical results immediately (and didn’t suddenly turn into megan fox overnight) I became disheartened and quit. when you view your fitness journey as a ‘process’ and enjoy the little gradual changes (including non-physical ones like lighter moods, more energy, etc) instead of focusing on the physical aspect, you begin to notice it’s a lot easier to keep up and to motivate yourself… and then eventually, you might get a pay-off when you notice your pants are too big for you or somebody tells you they can’t see your six chins anymore. that’s always good for morale.
3. you ALWAYS feel better after a workout
and you never regret doing one… unless you manage to break your ankle attempting to do the splits or kick over an expensive lamp in your apartment whilst practicing yoga. no matter how exhausted or sad or run down I feel, I can genuinely say I’ve never done a workout and thought “man I wish I sat in bed eating hungry jacks instead”. and to be honest, the guilt of not doing a workout and then having to make up excuses to yourself to validate your poor lifestyle choice and self-failure is way more effort to deal with than actually just getting off your ass and doing the thing.
4. exercise doesn’t have to be torture
generally when the words ‘gym’ and ‘exercise’ are mentioned, lazy people such as myself tend to run in the opposite direction because the thought of spending painstaking hours lifting weights and running on treadmills is on par with the experience of sticking thumbtacks in my eyelids… ain’t nobody got time for that. what a lot of people don’t seem to realise is that you don’t need to hit the gym to a) tone that ass and b) get a good workout. there are a plethora of different options – depending on your fitness levels and interests – for workouts you can do. there’s walking, martial arts, swimming, sword fighting, vacuuming the house, about a billion forms of dance, yoga, pilates, pump and tone classes…the list is literally endless (because pretty much anybody can take anything and turn it into a workout, eg -)
I started my fitness journey doing 15 minute high intensity body weight home workouts. no matter how busy my day is, I always manage to find 15 minutes for a workout (and if you can honestly say that you can’t find 15 minutes to do a workout then maybe you have bigger problems to deal with). not only are they great because they are short, but they work insanely well. I dropped 3 inches from my bust – which never seems to shrink – and 4 inches from my waist in a couple of months of just doing these workouts, without any real change to my lifestyle or terrible eating habits. the great thing about these workouts is that they are a gateway to other, longer workouts. I am now able to also run for 40 minutes (which is a mean feat for a chain-smoker), do all sorts of flexibility exercises I never could and actually really enjoy my dance classes (instead of reeling in pain after doing one routine).
5. you sleep better or spend less time sleeping
a lot of people who are depressed have some serious issues with their sleeping pattern. either they sleep way too much (because they don’t want to get out of bed and face the world) or they sleep too little (insomnia). exercise not only regulates your sleeping patterns, but gives you more energy and a higher sex drive – true story, it has been proved by science –
so instead of spending all that unnecessary time sleeping, you spend it having sex instead.. which is great for your self esteem… and also a form of exercise… not to mention orgasms release even more endorphins, which make you happy, and happy people don’t shoot their husbands…
see, science. ain’t it grand.
if you still don’t believe me and/or are seriously lacking in motivation this site might give you some reason to hit the gym