by Kristin Fisher
The journey of life leads each of us (enviably ) through mountain paths as well as dark valleys. In my twenties, It seemed that the valley paths had gotten exceptionally low and I was in a tailspin. I was desperately trying to find ways to release the anxiety and stress that had become a constant in my life. Some of those releases were healthy, and some were not. A casual friend had asked me to start walking with her several evenings a week during that time. I reluctantly agreed.
What I soon realized was that being outside and walking briskly put me into a new frame of mind, eased my tension, made me feel connected to nature and allowed me to think clearer. I was sleeping better and I had more energy! Plus, my causal friend became a close confidant! I started making physical activity a regular part of my life routine even after the walks with my friend ended.
Most people know the physical benefits of exercise, but I personally discovered that was of more value at the time, was the psychological benefits for myself! I reconnected with the part of me that felt strong and confident and I started to put personal goals in place for myself and even signed up for a small race. Eventually, that confidence and the goal orientated behavior was something that transferred into other aspects of my life too.
Five reasons to give physical activity a try:
- You feel better and sleep better.
- You have increased motivation to set and achieve goals
- Physical activity and a good diet are a drug free way to help with anxiety and depression
- Activity is a great way to meet new friends and find your tribe
- Gives you a clearer mind
As a mental health therapist, I always prescribe some kind of physical activity as a way to deal with stress and anxiety. Activity naturally releases endorphin’s, our bodies natural “feel good” chemical. Physical activity doesn’t have to be belting it out on a treadmill, but rather finding some physical outlet that you enjoy! It could be dancing, swimming, playing a rec sport, gardening, biking, basketball, hiking…find what you love to do and enjoy the many physical and psychological benefits that come along with it!