Sunday, February 14, 2010

And What Did I Learn?

Ever have one of those days when you are just plain grumpy, and nothing goes quite right? Yeah, me, too. Yesterday was one of those days. I just couldn't put my finger on what was wrong. I mean, I finally had a headache free day after several days dealing with with one--you know those lovely sinuses. So, that was good. But, I hadn't slept well at all the night before--maybe the stars were out of alignment (whatever that means?) I wanted to go back to bed after the dog woke me up, so I made my husband take the dog out for his morning walk. Guess what? I couldn't believe it, but I couldn't go back to sleep! Sometimes, things just aren't fair, you know? So, I proceeded through the usual Saturday morning grocery shopping and errands, trying to pull myself together. Nothing seemed to work. Finally, it struck me. I hadn't exercised the day before. Nope. I took the day off to get rid of my headache and get some other things accomplished. THAT WAS IT!

I don't get a "high" when I exercise, like many athletes do. I don't work out at that level. But I really notice it when I miss working out for a couple of days...I think my brain starts missing the endorphins. Endorphins are those lovely feel-good-happy, opiate-like neurotransmitters that like to zip through your brain when you do different things --like exercise. Endorphins really make us feel good and work in much the same way as many SSRI anti-depressants do (this is not to say that exercise can take the place of your antidepressants--always follow the advice of your doc!)

I was talking to my husband about going to see a George Clooney movie to perk me up, but once I figured out my brain needed a zip of endorphins, I suggested we take the dog out to the park for a walk instead. I told him I needed a mental health walk. We took the path through the woods, trudged through the snow, pushed hard and had a great workout for our quads. In 45 minutes, I felt great. Of course, seeing George on the big screen would have been fun, too, but wouldn't have taken care of my brain. Many years ago, when I felt like I did yesterday, that would have led to lots of overeating. Now, I am glad I can figure out what is wrong, even though it sure did take me a while!

And when I got back, I had so much energy, that I started to do a little house cleaning (not my forte.) I did some major stretching as I climbed behind the sofa and dusted the shelf of the big bow window. As I stepped to reach a little further, I forgot about the air register, and really smacked my little toe on corner. YEOW!!! So, today? It's a lovely shade of purplish-black, I'm gingerly walking on it, and thinking that I'm not going to be able to do a good power walk again today. Instead, I will hit abs and arms tonight. Ah, well, I told you it wasn't my day.

What did I learn from yesterday? I certainly learned not to skip my regular exercise routine. I need it for my endorphin fix and for my mental health. And, I think I may have learned to avoid housework...either that, or to always do it with my sneakers on!


  1. I know exactly what you mean. I do get that high from exercise....but that doesn't mean I have grown to LOVE exercise. I still struggle with making myself exercise when I would rather do just about anything else.

    What I do is say I'll "just do 20 minutes." I can do anything for 20 minutes. Once I get started, that 20 becomes 30 or 40....and I feel great when it's over.

    If you're struggling with getting in that exercise, just set small goals, and do it before you think too much about it!

    Off to work out......

  2. That's an excellent approach! Keep up the fantastic work toward a healthy you!


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