The Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health

38 days free from marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol and happy to report the cravings are practically gone  The best way they say to lose a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.  Well for me that replacement has been regular exercise.  And it has really made a difference in my mental and physical well-being.  I have never felt better and never exercised so much since I was playing sports as a kid and teenager.

Prior to 38 days ago, I was smoking cigarettes and pot on a throughout the day basis.  I had a medical marijuana card so it was legal and I used it for my anxiety which had been off the hinges after my last attempt at working.  But the problem was that the high didn’t last so I kept doing it to feel better.  And then when I smoked I couldn’t drive so I stayed at home way too much and didn’t want to hang out with my friends or family as much due to the cycle

But the great news is that the benefits of exercise last much longer than any high and it is so cheap in comparison to buying weed and cigarettes.

I even started going to the gym again and they have this awesome total body massage chair and table which helps my muscles to feel better after my workouts!  I have even started to get a workout in  the morning so my day starts off on the right foot.

So here are the many benefits but I am sure there are more~

  • A boost of endorphins after a good workout
  • Mental clarity
  • motivation to keep my house, life and myself in good shape and order
  • weight loss although it is slow
  • a fitter body
  • an excuse to get outside and also get the benefit of fresh air and sunshine when the weather is good
  • helps with memory
  • helps me to fall asleep faster and get better sleep so I don’t need as much (before I was getting 9-11 hours of sleep a night, now I get 7-8 and feel fine and ready to go)
  • adds variety to life as a new hobby I see myself doing the rest of my life
  • helps with stress
  • puts me in a good mood and helps me to stay there
  • my good moods are contagious so the people around me seem happier too!

I still have the occasional bad day but it is usually due to taking my rest day when you exercise a lot.  I used to have 1 out of 3 or 4 bad days but recently I actually had my longest streak of 9 days of feeling great and being motivated since being diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder in 2008

I vary my workouts to avoid boredom.  Lately I have been walking a lot, 9-12 miles a day actually because I compete on fitbit with people from around the country and my home town and I am very competitive ha ha.  But I will get tired of that after a while and get back to my sparkpeople videos for Latin spice dance workouts, cardio boogie, upper and lower body strengthening and intense power workouts to upbeat music.

One of the disadvantages of working out is that injury is common and it happened to me.  I strained my shoulder so have had to avoid upper body workouts until it heals.  I also stretch most days for ten minutes to help prevent injury and just bought a stability ball to work on my core muscles while I am sitting at my computer!

If you don’t exercise I urge you to try it for two weeks and see how your feel.  Start with a ten minute walk and go up from there but try to give it your all if you can and you’ll feel better if you do!  If you experience the benefits already as a regular exerciser, post in the comments your favorite workout routine.  I  love to get new ideas all the time and surely my readers would be interested too.

Good night!

Pax

Victoria

Lack of motivation is my current main symptom

 

I see my pdoc tomorrow and am thinking about what I want to talk to him about and after a conversation with one of my two sounding boards I have come to the conclusion that my main problem is that there are days when I am totally unmotivated to do even simple things like put something away or send a text.  This is one of the negative symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder which I have written about before at length (see June 2014 for more about the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia).

Other days I am unstoppable like today.  I deep cleaned part of my house and was very motivated to keep going until 6pm when my husband got home.  It’s weird because sometimes I am more motivated when my family is here with me especially if they are working on projects or other days like today I was motivated by myself with only my son stopping by on his way to work.  There is no rhyme or reason to my moods to get things done.  It is pretty awesome though that I exercise 6 out of 7 days a week very regularly, walking for many miles when the weather is nice or jumping on my mini trampoline or gardening when the mood strikes me which lately has been more often than not.

The one thing that my pdoc highly recommended with me being off work permanently is to keep my mind engaged and he suggested learning Spanish.  Well tomorrow I get to tell him that I am not only learning Spanish (I actually already know some) but that I am taking a gardening class which is mainly in Spanish.  The teacher is a white girl like me and it is pretty cool that she teaches the class to us in Spanish.  The class is predominately Hispanic so I get to hear her proper grammar and a lot of slang.  I’d say my pdoc will be pleased as I am learning a lot about gardening terms in Spanish.

The class itself is pretty interesting and I am applying the knowledge I am learning to my own personal gardens which are coming along.  I have weeded, put down weed block, compost and will add mulch around my plants as soon as I buy some which should be tomorrow hopefully.  It is a great hobby I highly recommend.  That and walking are my main sources of entertainment and my show I am obsessed with Person of Interest which I am watching for the second time but slower so it will last.

I spend most of my days alone with my dogs and a mix of going to either an AA meeting, a walk with a friend/dogs or to coffee with someone.  Of course I go to the store but some days like today I just stay home and work on the house.  It is amazing how much dirt one can find when one looks for it.  I also enjoy taking a drive along the coast with my husband or alone.  Nights are spent reading mainly and blogging or writing in my journal.

And yet I wonder if there is more to life than this?  I still wonder if I should work again but if I did it would be gardening or working at the library or something chill like that.

I am currently awaiting my hearing to get on permanent disability or rather should say I am waiting for them to schedule it which may take a year!  I have till August of this year till my state disability benefits run out so that gives me time to figure out what I need to do.  I am able to pay off my debt right now a little at a time and finally finished paying off the last hospital stay.  I think that is what I will tell the people at the hearing that I can’t work because I will just end up in the hospital again if I work as history has repeated.

I have been clean and sober for seventeen months which is how long it has been since my last hospital stay.  I still use nicotine regularly via lozenges which really helps with the stress, ha what stress?  Yes I am still stressed out even though I am not working just getting through each day but it is minimal compared to when I work.  Sometimes I stress about a difficult day meeting various social engagements which are rare because I choose it that way for the most part.  I have family over for dinner sometimes and enjoy that very much.

Well that is about all that is going on with me.  Feel free to write in anytime as I answer all my legit email at:. victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com

Pax

Victoria