Does exercise improve your mental health?

People always say that exercise helps to improve your mental health, because releases chemicals that lift your mood. I never believed it, and when I tried going to the gym in early 2017, my anxiety levels increased and I became a lot more self conscious. It was horrible. I wanted to go, I wanted to keep fit and be happy with my body, but my self esteem was so low that I couldn’t face being in an environment with people who are ‘fit’ and know what they’re doing.

I felt this way for over a year, and I do still feel self conscious, but I’m improving. I recently went back to the gym as my friend encouraged me too. It was a tough workout, and I was super achy for the next few days, but the initial feeling was amazing. I felt so good for finally going out of my comfort zone and overcoming my fear. It was a huge step for me and I’m so proud of myself that I did this. I went to the gym again yesterday, and it was even better than the previous time. No, it wasn’t an intense workout, but it was the right one for me. I spent the entire day feeling so low and anxious, to a point that I almost talked myself out of going, but I forced myself and I went. The positivity and happiness I felt when I came out was just what I’ve been looking for the last few months. I felt like I had achieved something, I didn’t care that people were potentially watching me, I just went for it. It felt amazing. Even now, writing this, I feel a lot more positive and I do put it down to the fact I exercised.

I’m not saying that I’ll become a regular member, but after that experience I know that it can help me to feel so much more relaxed. Releasing that tension and frustration you have that has been building up, it’s a rewarding feeling. Although my first gym experience from last year was awful, and it did put me off for a long while, I got through it. It wasn’t the right time for me, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind because at that point, I didn’t think anything would help me. I’ve come a long way since then and I can really see the difference.

I know that exercising isn’t for everybody, and I didn’t think it was for me, but it is such a great way to let go of what’s bothering you, what’s upsetting you. Even if it’s for a short while, it still makes all the difference. I’m going to push myself to go, and of course I’ll have days where I don’t feel like going because I’m feeling so low, but it’s something I’m working and improving on and I’m happy with the direction I’m heading in.

1 Comment

  1. I do remember reading about your gym experience last year. I am glad you are able to do it and feel the awesome effects. I also joined yoga a month ago and have been just loving this activity. The first week was hard but now I go almost every day unless there is something more urgent. I also used to take long walks. They are good for people who aren’t into the gym idea as much. A walk for an hour around the park does great things to your life. I also try to jst walk on the treadmill in my 15 min breaks at work. We have a gym on site. Depending on how I am feeling I set the speed. I think these are all good habits to develop because they all collectively help you out.

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