Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Exercise & Sadness

There has been a buzz around for years that exercise helps make you feel better when you are feeling low. I have often felt the 'runner's high' after working out and have used exercise many times to help lift my mood.

Yesterday, though...something different happened.

I was exercising and focusing on a motivational quote for working out that said, "If you look pretty after your work out, then you're not working hard enough." I was doing an intense, hip-hop ab work out in the middle of the afternoon. Once I finished the main section and was moving into the cool down, I noticed I felt weepy. After my shower, I realized I felt kind of sad.

I thought, "What's up with me?" So even though I was sceptical because I had only EVER heard or experienced the opposite, I search the Internet to see if exercise can cause someone to feel depressed and do you know what I found?

It can.

If you've experienced this, then please know you're not crazy or alone. If you have not, well there is a good chance you might someday at least once. I found a forum of people discussing whether it was possible for exercise to cause a person to be depressed or angry. As I read, I found most of these folks had spoken to their doctor but had gotten shrugged off by them.

There are several possibilities to why exercise can make you feel sorrow, foggy, or even anger:
  1. dehydration
  2. exercise-induced low blood sugar
  3. changes in your cortisol or adrenalin levels
  4. exercise might be allowing you to release past tension, grieving or other intense emotions
So what were some suggestions?
  1. Give yourself grace - you are human and there is probably something chemical going on
  2. Drink water in case you are dehydrated from your exercise routine and make sure you try drinking water during your next work out program.
  3. Eat some fruit or a little bit of something with complex carbohydrates to bring up your blood sugar. Someone suggested eating fruit an hour before working out to help as well.
  4. You might be pushing yourself to hard. Although we see TV exercise coaches pushing contestants on shows to their extreme limit, not everyone is build the same way. Listen to your body!
  5. Spend some time praying about life events you might be not being dealing with and again give yourself grace because it might be allowing you to get rid of stuffed sadness or anger.
  6. Change your work out. Many experienced this negative change in mood when doing aerobic routines. Try something like walking or swimming. Some wrote that when they changed the type of exercise they noticed a difference.
I have a feeling since I ate an early lunch and was working out in the middle afternoon that my blood-sugar got too low and that I might have pushed myself to hard. If it happens again, then I'll probably be switching from that routine. Anyway, I was thankful I found the forum because I'd never experienced this before. Exercise is good for us so I'm not giving up. :)

1 comment:

  1. I never knew this either. I find the releasing grief portion seems pretty realistic -- like you can hide something away and try to "exercise it away" but it comes back.