“Exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”- Elle Woods.
Exercise is such an awesome part of my routine for many reasons. One really important reason is that it helps me manage my stress levels and emotions. I can cry, laugh, sweat, and just breathe, sometimes all in one lift. I know this is starting to sound like a sad country song, but that’s actually what inspired me to write this blog. Exercise, especially lifting, always accepts whatever mood I am in that day and always manages to make me feel better.
The other day I was moody, and feeling down and stressed out for no particular reason. Many people would envy the kind of day I had; I woke up early and went to work, lifted heavy things, babysat, and then was home by 5 pm to make dinner and enjoy a new book I just started. After reading for about an hour I couldn’t stand myself anymore, it was like I was uncomfortable in my own skin. In an attempt to solve the problem I ate 2 Reese’s peanut butter cups, and then I put on some shoes and went to the track. I turned on my country playlist (May We All came on first), started running, and quietly cried my way through 3 miles. I don’t know if it was the rain, the run, or the really depressing country songs, but I seriously cried mid-run, and it felt AMAZING! When I was done I felt relaxed, my confidence got a little boost, and I felt like Maddy, not some whiny, tired, anxious, hangry (angry due to hunger) version of myself.
I also had a similar experience mid-lift. Brandon Crabill was being particularly bossy this day and was making me squat 215 pounds for 20 reps in a row at the end of a workout. This was the day after I had returned f10-day10 day vacation in Italy stuffing my face with gelato, pasta, and wine. Not only did I not feel like lifting this 20 times, but I also didn’t think I was capable of doing it. After rep #11 I started crying, like loud obnoxious Kim Kardashian crying. I thought there is no way I could go on. I feared failing in front of Brandon, I feared failing in general, and I could just fast forward in my head to the meet I had coming up and picture myself failing in front of a bunch of hardcore powerlifters and spectators. I then continued to squat, one rep at a time, until I got to rep 19.5 and basically crumbled to the floor. I could probably have completed the rep, but being dramatic is much more my style. Reaching new heights in lifting definitely correlates to real life obstacles. Whenever I think I can’t do something I just remember to take it one rep at a time.
Everyone has their own experiences when exercising, but in general we all produce endorphins that make us happy, it improves a depressed mood, boosts self-confidence, and decreases stress and anxiety. It’s ok to be raw and let exercise make us feel strong, undisguised, and feeling like we can fight through anything. Now not every lift is this dramatic, but when exercise becomes a routine in our lives it can really improve our mental health.