Exercising helps give you a boost
Many of us find it hard enough to motivate ourselves to exercise at the best of times, and a cold winter can leave us with the blues as well.
When we feel depressed, anxious, stressed or have other mental or emotional problems, it can be all the more difficult.
This is especially true of depression and anxiety, and it can leave you feeling trapped in a catch-22 situation.
You know exercise will make you feel better, but depression has robbed you of the energy and motivation you need to exercise, or your social anxiety means you can’t bear the thought of being seen at an exercise class or walking the streets.
So what should you do? Start small. When you’re under the cloud of an emotional disorder and haven’t exercised for a long time, setting yourself extravagant goals like completing a marathon or working out for an hour every morning will only leave you more despondent if you fall short.
Better to set yourself achievable goals and build up from there.
Focus on activities you enjoy. Any activity that gets you moving counts.
That could include throwing a Frisbee with a dog or friend, walking laps of a mall window shopping, or cycling to the grocery store.
If you’ve never exercised before or don’t know what you might enjoy, try a few different things.
Activities such as gardening or tackling a home improvement project can be great ways to start moving more when you have a mood disorder—as well as helping you become more active, they can also leave you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Even a short 15-minute walk can help clear your mind, improve your mood, and boost your energy level.
As you move and start to feel a little better, you’ll experience a greater sense of control over your well-being.
Reward yourself. Part of the reward of completing an activity is how much better you’ll feel afterwards, but it always helps your motivation to promise yourself an extra treat for exercising.
Reward yourself with a hot bubble bath after a workout, a delicious smoothie, or with an extra episode of your favourite TV show.
Make exercise a social activity. Exercising with a friend or loved one, or even your kids will not only make exercising more fun and enjoyable, it can also help to motivate you to stick to a workout routine.
And finally, having whanau, friends and positive supporting people around you anyways helps.
For more information on exercises groups, classes and activities check out the Sport Waikato website and click on ‘Be Active’ link.
* Lisa is the South Waikato District Coordinator for Sports Waikato.
A little bit of exercise can do wonders for your mood.