One of the things I’ve become keenly aware of over the years is the mental health benefits to exercise. It is not to be taken lightly. I ride my bike to calm the crazy, run to tame the anxiety, hike to clear the mind, camp to recenter… the list goes on right?? Just Google it, exercise releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, endorphins, norepinephrine, and serotonin. All chemicals common in manufactured antidepressants naturally found in our bodies particularly during exercise and responsible for improving mental health. I won’t even attempt to talk the science behind it… just… trust me okay?! Or Google it yourself even. 🙂
So, needless to say, when my stress increases, my mental health deteriorates in one way or another, and when I feel sad or down… my reaction is nearly always “holy crap, I need exercise”!! Even days like today when I feel pretty sick and under the weather, I feel the strong hunger for it.
My stress was such today that despite how terrible I felt, I had to go do something. Knowing my lungs and body weren’t going to tolerate extreme exertion, I went for a short 2.8 mile hike up in Evergreen. That of course was after driving fifty miles the VERY long way up there. Haha. But that hike worked wonders for mental clarity, fresh perspective, and rebalance. Even though I was out of breath on the tiniest of hills thanks to this freaking virus (guess who left their inhaler in the car… again). I took the time though during that hike to take in the views, listen to the breeze in the trees and the screech of a hawk, and notice the various critter prints in the soft mud and snow along the trail.
So consider it, next time you feel just that bit of anxiety, stress, sadness, fear, whatever… try going out for exercise. Watch and listen to the beauty around you and see what the increased heart rate and soaking in nature can do for you. 💗