Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolution: Moving My Muscles

At this time of year, many (most?) Americans resolve to have a more active lifestyle. We usually focus on the physical aspects of exercise, such as weight loss, reduced blood pressure, presumed better looks, and so on. But Dr. Low teaches that moving our muscles has another important benefit: reducing our angry and fearful temper.

In this case I'm not talking about moving one's muscles to overcome a fear, such as having the will to board an airplane if you fear flying. I'm talking about the useful benefits of exercise in improving our mental health.

I don't enjoy exercising, though. I had a gym membership once, but I felt very uncomfortable there, intimidated by all of the fit and trim people. Now that I'm in Recovery, I would have taken a different attitude toward that experience, but in general I don't enjoy peddling on a bike for 30 minutes or lifting weights repetitiously. I do enjoy being active, though, whether that is working in the yard or strolling through a park. When I move my muscles I can feel tension, anger, and fear drain away, and I need to practice being more active to improve my mental health.

So my New Year's resolution is to be more active in 2011. To achieve this goal, I hope to take more walks--daily if possible. I'm not going to scold myself if I don't feel I'm doing "enough," as it's average to be enthuisastic about New Year's resolutions but then have that attitude fade over time. But if I lower my standards, my performance will rise, as Dr. Low suggests.

And as I'm walking in the bitter winter cold I can endorse myself all the way for making my mental health a business.


Driving Anxiety said...

I've found an exercise that helped a lot with my anxiety; it's bikram yoga. It's expensive and 90 min of hell but you feel so good afterwards. If there's a studio near you I suggest you try it. It really helps to alleviate anxiety.

Staci Rybacek said...

I just recently started bicycling and feel these are some tips to help those (like me) with anxiety to get out.
#1- Have a good buddy
#2- Picking a route without too many hills and close to home
#3- Start slow
#4- Take 5-10 minute breaks to make sure you are breathing and to take in the moment
#5- Have proper clothes
#6- Feel good and proud of your accomplishment

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