Let’s Get Physical

Let’s be honest here – my idea of exercise consists of yelling for The Young One to run down to the basement and bring me a jar of tomato sauce.

And I have the ass to prove it.

Making a deal with TC, my young diabetic friend, to exercise every day of the Whole30 was probably the best thing I’d done for quite some time.  Yes, I was disappointed that I only lost 2 1/2 pounds after it was all said and done, but there was another benefit I hadn’t really considered when I’d agreed:  it made me feel better.

Understanding the health benefits of exercise is one thing; doing it is something else all together.  I don’t necessarily enjoy it so I tend to do it grudgingly, and heretofore the only thing it made me feel once it was over was gratitude that I wasn’t doing it any more.  However, recently I’ve found that it offers a measure of relief – sometimes a great deal of it – when I’m getting to the point where I’d gladly punch bunnies and kick puppies.

Which is not to say that I’m going to join a Crossfit gym ever in my life any time soon, but if walking on the treadmill for 30 to 45 minutes 4 or 5 days a week will keep me from gouging my loved ones in the eyes with a letter opener, then hey – I’m all for  it.

But why does it make me feel better?

Just a little consultation with Dr. Google reveals something rather frustrating, if not downright depressing:  no one can really tell you for sure what causes the often erratic mood swings that accompany perimenopause.  However, it seems that the hormone imbalances caused by the decreasing frequency of ovulation – in other words, an increase in estrogen and decrease in progesterone – affects the body’s production of both endorphins and, more importantly, serotonin.

While both endorphins and serotonin are known for boosting emotions, serotonin produces a milder effect, causing happiness and feelings of security. Endorphins, on the other hand, are a more intense form of pleasure, sparking such intense reactions as euphoria and ecstasy, depending on the amount of endorphins circulating in the bloodstream at any given time. At low levels, endorphins can produce the mild effects of relaxation and joy, similar to those produced by serotonin, making regular, moderate exercise very important, especially when you’re feeling particularly stabby.

We’ll address exercise and weight loss (or, if you’re fortunate, management) at a later date.

For more sweaty Spins, run on over and visit Gretchen at Second Blooming.  On the double, people.

10 thoughts on “Let’s Get Physical”

  1. Case in point: Yesterday, I did not go on my run, and I was a miserable twat all day. It’s true. So I am now heading out for a run after I drop the kid at school so that others will be willing to spend time with me today.

    You are linked!

  2. I have wanted to get a treadmill for years – now I’m waiting (again) until after we move back to Washington State, so I won’t have to move it across the country. I had an el-cheapo treadmill I got off Craigslist that didn’t last very long before it tried to kill me, so now I’m waiting (and saving) to get a good one that will actually be beneficial – without making any attempts on my life. 😉 Meanwhile I’ll just utilize my WiiFit – I better make sure I stay consistent so when perimenopause hits in the near future, I’m not wielding any letter openers… 😉

  3. I started running three mornings a week, a mile a moring in July. I hate running–but I like the benefits it’s bringing me: weight loss, toning, mood improvement. I had to stop running for a while due to tendonitis in my right foot and I can see the difference in my mood. Today I danced in front of the DVD for exercise just to get the heart rate up so I could feel good again. I’m almost afraid to say ti, but I’m almost looking forward to running again on Monday.
    It has shown me that I need to find something to do when weather keeps me from running outside this winter.

  4. My exercise level has dropped to almost zero the last 5 weeks as I’ve been going through Appendix-Explosion or whatever it is. There’s no question I feel better (in many ways) when I’m exercising. I’m starting back this weekend, although I’m going to begin slowly. There’s no question I could benefit from doing MORE than I normally do.

  5. I bicycle to work every day (that the weather allows) – 3.6 miles each way. It keeps my mood stable, allows me to keep losing weight (no matter how frustratingly slowly it happens – half a pound a week, if I’m VERY well-behaved about my diet), and MOST importantly, it keeps me insulin sensitive. I’m a type 1.5 LADA diabetic, insulin-dependent since I no longer make my own insulin (thank you late diagnosis and ineffective doctors (do NOT let me get started on THAT)), and about 100 pounds overweight, so incredibly insulin-resistant as well. Pain in the butt combo, so increasing insulin sensitivity is necessary. I can cut my insulin requirement almost in half by exercising consistently, but I absolutely have to include a couple/three sessions per week of resistance training as well, or it doesn’t work nearly as well. No gym, just 20 min of bodyweight exercises.

    1. I’m with you on the body weight exercise, though I do supplement it with a Bowflex when I’m not traveling – hell I bought the damn thing I should use it. But resistance training and body weight training both offer the benefits of low impact are both very scalable and help build lean muscle mass.

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