Managing anxiety through fitness
Mental illness is a serious matter within our society; it affects approximately 20% of the Canadian population. I personally have suffered with anxiety for most of my life, and for years I searched for the magical cure. I looked at medication, therapy and more, but nothing was speaking to me. While those methods might be the solution for some, I was looking for something that would ultimately transform my life completely in the best way possible.
When I finally decided to buckle down and research “helpful tips for alleviating anxiety and depression,” I noticed that article after article suggested fitness as a healthy management method. Fitness, the articles said, had benefits such as:
increased endorphines (your happy chemicals),
alleviated anxiety and depression, and/or
Of course, at first I didn’t listen - my goodness the effort! I can only imagine many of you out there thinking the exact same thing. Fitness is daunting to someone who has never ventured into that lifestyle before. Fitness is a small step, not a leap. I can empathize with those of you who want to change, and those of you who drive passed a gym terrified but at the same time intrigued.
After passing my neighborhood gym numerous times, I finally decided it was time to go in. Before I went, I researched different types of exercises that catered to the results I wanted to achieve. I also made sure to give myself time and, if need be, a trip to the bathroom to take a few deep breaths. Sure enough, after about 20 minutes the adrenaline was going, the endorphins kicked in and I was feeling on top of the world. The anxiety that was present when paying my drop-in fee was lessening; the “ what will everyone think of me“ thoughts were disappearing;
I was proud and determined.
Now, all of this is not to say that the minute I stepped off the elliptical I was a fitness maven who had conquered exercise. No, what I was, was a women who managed to step out of her comfort zone and try something new, which in itself is a great accomplishment.
The next day… did I go to the gym? You bet I did! I went to the gym almost every day. It has now been over a year since I started my fitness journey and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I pushed through my barriers. My anxiety is lower and my entire being is calmer. With a little perseverance, I know that you can get there too.
This is just my story - we all have to start somewhere. For some, it might be just a 10 minute walk around the block. Alternatively, it might be a short class at a fitness centre. Heck, it might even be a semi-private personal training session at the Drench studio! Whatever it is I encourage you to find your fitness, because in the end I promise you - it will be worth it.