Activity is a real mood booster. Literally. Exercise creates a chemical reaction in your Healthy Body by releasing endorphins. Endorphins then interact with the receptors in your brain. Once that chemical reaction gets going we tend to have a better outlook on life, the things that were getting us down may not affect us as much and the pain we are in might not be quite as painful. For some, it is almost like “getting high”.
I used to run a lot. They talk about the “runners high”. Sure enough, after about 30 minutes of running, I would notice a difference in my mood. Almost as if someone had slipped me some kind of drug and it was just kicking in at the 30-minute mark. That runners high gives me a confidence boost and elevates my mood. I don’t notice this feeling from lifting weights in the same way that I notice it from doing half an hour of cardiovascular activity. My main cardiovascular exercise of choice now is swimming. With all of the swimming pools closed at the moment, I have had to go mix things up a bit and get my cardiovascular workouts in different ways.
Sunlight is another endorphin booster. My mood just naturally improves when I am outside.
With people being cooped up in the house for long periods we have all kinds of reasons to look for some mood enhancers. Between cabin fever, the stress of the unknown and financial and employment issues to worry about, the lack of exercise, lack of routine etc. All of this combined can be a real downer. Unfortunately, some people at this time may turn to food, alcohol or other ingested drugs to help their situation and elevate their moods. Unfortunately, those temporary solutions come with side effects. Alcohol is a depressant. Inhaling smoke is bad for your lungs and binge eating is bad for numerous obvious reasons.
During this time I need to take care of my mental state.
My response that has helped me is photographing animals. The photography has given me something to look forward to each day. It gets me outside in the fresh air. The equipment is heavy so walking with 30 pounds of camera equipment is great exercise. And just being in nature in itself for me is a mood enhancer. And yes, I have been inviting a couple of photography friends to join me. Not to worry, we maintain our 6-foot distance from one another. And we are still receiving the benefit of another form of endorphin release. We are enjoying one another’s company at a distance while exercising and doing something we enjoy.
I am a bit of a health fanatic. I eat well. I exercise daily and I try not to ingest anything that doesn’t give my Healthy Body the nutrients it needs. I hope I am a good example for those around me so they take care of their health as well. Yesterday when I was packing my camera gear into the car my wife asked me where I was going at 4 p.m. in the afternoon. She was a little perplexed when I told her I was going outside to get high and asked her if she would like to join me.
During this time when we are spending a lot of time at home. Each of us needs to figure out what works for us as individuals so we keep mentally and physically active.
Stay safe everyone and keep “Fit ‘N’ Well”.