No matter where you are in your healing journey, there is always something you can do that will help you to feel better. Movement is a great place to start! Here is an excerpt from my book Kicking Sick:
Get Your Tush on the Happy Train
Illness, especially a chronic health issue, can make you feel as if your body has abandoned you. Put the hate that you feel for your body behind you, and learn to love it again with easy, gentle movement and, when you are ready, sweat-inducing exercise that uplifts your mood and honors your physical abilities. Your body is your temple. It is the house in which you live. It is your job to honor it.
Getting fit and staying fit is a state of mind. Just because you feel like a big blob on some days (and you know which days I’m talking about) doesn’t mean that feeling has to be your vibe all day, every day. Simple acts of movement can boost your happiness levels, and the way your body feels, in just a few minutes. The increased blood flow movement brings also benefits your noggin almost immediately.
That’s why you often feel clear and focused after a workout, a long walk, or a hike. Exercising regularly supports the growth of new brain cells, and we can all use a few more of those. One of the most effective and noninvasive ways to fight depression (so common among members of the Chronic Condition Club) is exercise.
Mark Hyman, MD, says:
Exercise is essential for good health. It is the best antidepressant and anti- anxiety medication available. It reduces inflammation, improves mood, balances neurotransmitter function, and increases neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, just to mention a few of the positive effects it has on your brain. If exercise could be put in a pill, it would be the biggest blockbuster medication of all time. Unfortunately, today, nearly half of Americans live a sedentary lifestyle and 88 percent don’t get enough exercise. No wonder we have an epidemic of broken brains!
A recent study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that exercise boosts the mood of people managing chronic conditions, not to mention the mood of everyone else on the planet.2 And there’s more: Alan J. Gelenberg, MD, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Penn State University, says the study’s findings are consistent with the American Psychiatric Association, which recommends regular exercise to help combat the blues often associated with those dealing with chronic conditions. The study showed that even moderate exercise makes a difference.
You can do this: just thirty minutes a day for five days is what you should be going for. It’s not a huge amount of time; there are twenty-four hours in a day, and we’re just asking for thirty minutes a day! Consistency is key. Keep up the good work, and the good work will reward you with a good mood and a great ass.
Exercising doesn’t just help your figure go from a zero to a ten on the hotness scale. Lot’s of irresistibly great things happen when you make movement a regular part of your weekly routine:
- better sex
- smoother, younger skin
- deeper, more restful sleep
- bigger brain power (yup, exercise makes you smarter)
- improved digestion
- more robust immune system
- stronger bones
- lower blood pressure
- healthier cholesterol levels
- energized endorphins (movement is a real mood lifter)