“It occurs to us that exercise is the more normal or natural condition and that being sedentary is really the abnormal situation,” Holmes says.
Hey there, internet. I have a confession to make. I have a half marathon in a month, and I’ve only run 2 miles in the last 20 days.
It’s not that I’m busy. I spent the other night reading Fark on my iPhone while watching Good Eats reruns.
It’s not that I’m sick or injured. I haven’t had a cold or even a blister for months.
It’s not that I’m super stressed. I launched a pretty kick-ass website for a client just last week.
It’s that… I am seriously bummed!
Have you ever felt like this? There isn’t anything wrong with your life. Maybe the kitchen’s a little messy, but whatever, it’s not like you’re going to be featured on Locked Up Abroad. You’re really tired, but you go to bed at 2am. At work, you can’t seem to keep a train of thought consistent between your e-mail app, browser and spreadsheets, so it takes twice as long to do anything that doesn’t include a lolcat. In fact, lolcats don’t make you lol anymore. You can’t muster up the motivation to do anything appealing, because none of it sounds appealing anymore. You’re just tired. And sometimes a little teary-eyed. And your stomach hurts. You don’t really hang out with your friends anymore. (Tired.) You wonder what the hell happened to your workout program. (Tired.) You loathe yourself a little bit for spending perfectly productive moments lurking on Twitter instead of crossing something off of your ever-growing to-do list… but you can’t bring yourself to care enough to actually do anything about it. (Screw “tired,” I’m exhausted!)
If you feel like that regularly, or persistently*, then I’m afraid that you could has a sad. Um, I mean, I think I might have mild depression.
*If these feelings are severe, make daily life difficult, impact your relationships or persist for longer than two weeks — or if your thoughts ever turn to self-harm — immediately call a doctor or health professional. Depression is a disease, and you deserve treatment that will help you live a happy and healthy life.
I like to think that I’m a happy person, but I’m definitely prone to bouts of the blues. That’s one of the main reasons that fitness is so important to me: Studies show that exercise not only alleviates mild depression, it keeps it from coming back. Fitness: As effective as drugs like Zoloft for mild to moderate depression. And 30 minutes of getting your heart rate up boosts your mood immediately. Bonus! Instant gratification.
Smits uses the immediate mood boost as a way to motivate patients with depression (which, of course, manifests in a chronic lack of motivation) to get moving. Instead of a barrier to exercise, Smits suggests, depression can become a reason to exercise. “You feel crappy, so you get on the treadmill, and you look back and you say, ‘Wow, I feel much better,’ ” he says.
Every time I’ve felt like punching life in the face or crawling in a hole to cry, going out for a 30-minute run or a 60-minute cruise on my bike has definitely made me feel better.
Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.
–James E. Starrs
I know, it’s not that easy. I can’t count the number of times in the past month that the weather and my schedule and energy have aligned to make a perfect opportunity to put on my shoes and run… and yet I didn’t.
I’m going to try thinking of it as taking my medicine. It doesn’t matter how you feel about it, you just have to do it, you know?
How do you motivate yourself to exercise when you’re down in the dumps?