My focus here for the past week or so at LGSM has been on comfort foods, their benefits to my stress levels and detriments to my weight (Oh my God, the scale this morning!). The flip side of my stress management technique is exercise, and this past week getting in good exercise has been critical to my mental health as well as physical wellbeing.
During difficult times it is hard to find and time and motivation to work out, but it is also at such times that it is more important to make the time and effort. My aim with my workouts this week has simply been to get them in. I didn’t worry if I was working below my optimum level, I did not focus on increasing my time, endurance, or strength (though this week’s kettlebell class did that anyway!), and I did not fret when I felt that I was not performing at my best. I gave myself permission to settle for doing what I could, when I could, which is better than just sitting on the sofa eating sea salt and turbinado sugar dark chocolate covered almonds.
Here’s what my exercise effort this past week included:
- Sunday I walked the kids around the park for about 30 minutes. This could be considered by rest day.
- Monday I took a 45 minute strength and conditioning class followed by a 45 minute MMA class.
- Tuesday I did about 10 minutes of yoga in the morning to settle my nerves and in the evening I took a 1 hour kettlebell class that worked my shoulders, chest, and lats to well that I still feel it.
- Wednesday I loafed my way through a 45 minute strength and conditioning class, followed by a more intense 45 minute MMA class.
- Thursday I ran 3 miles in about 30 minutes.
- Friday morning I worked with kettlebells at home for 30 minutes. After I heard the news about my father-in-law, I took a 45 minute walk through the local park with the dogs.
- Saturday I took a 45 minute MMA class. Making it to class this morning was not easy, either emotionally or with the other obligations we have today, but getting in a good workout this morning really did wonders for my nerves, which are badly frayed today.
A little over two years ago, I went through a much more difficult period of loss, one that required the guidance of a grief counselor. He told me then that the one thing that would make his job easier would be if every one of his patients would exercise hard daily despite their grief. Hard physical activity is good mental medicine, and this morning’s MMA class proved that to me as it purged much of the nervous energy from my system. Sometimes a good sweat is as emotionally cleansing as a good cry.