How I use fitness to manage my Bipolar
Posted Tuesday 7 August 2012
Every week there seems to be a new study out detailing that physical exercise and keeping fit is good for mental health. Well, that’s all well and good, we can read studies until the cows come home, but I can tell you personally how fitness has affected my Bipolar and how I use fitness to manage my condition.
It’s been said for years that exercising releases endorphins which make you happy! And that exercise releases other such hormones which are mood boosting! Which I would agree with. However I believe that the release of these hormones can actually play a part in helping people with mental health illnesses.
I was fortunate enough to meet up with a good friend last night who suffers terrible anxiety. She told me that she had started swimming and going to the gym recently and that she found this had eased her anxiety. This is brilliant news! I am so pleased that something as simple as a swim or a jog can help her.
I love fitness and especially weight training. However I find that I have to manage my exercising exertion levels accordingly as not to tip my mood. I will explain. Have you heard of the workout program called “Insanity” No? It’s described as a workout that will push you beyond what you thought was possible with explosive cardio and plyometric drills and non-stop intervals of strength, power and resistance. Additional ab and core training techniques will get you amazing results in just 60 days.
GREAT! I gave it a go. I did one 40 minute DVD each day……I lasted 7 days before I had a major manic episode. Basically I ODed on mood boosting hormones!
SO how do I control my Bipolar through exercise? I keep it constant and on a level where I push myself to get gains but not exert myself to become unwell. I use morning cardio when I am low or depressed. This is used by a lot of athletes to start the morning off and kick-start their metabolism and burn fat. I use this to help lift my mood. I usually take a brisk walk around the block or get on my exercise bike.
Walking is one of the simplest forms of exercise which can immensely benefit people who have mental health illnesses. When I am low or depressed I will try to go for a walk once a day and use mindful mediation techniques. It does not matter what I look like, if I’ve washed or not brushed my teeth. The main things is that you are getting UP and OUT of the house and feeling the fresh air on your face and opening your ears to the sounds about you. What do you have to loose, hey?!
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