The Power of the Gym
Just one of those days
We all have those days where we wake up feeling grumpy, sad or lethargic. We also have those days where we feel great until something comes up and smacks us totally in the face, leaving us angry or hurt. The question is, what can we do to alleviate these feelings and bring our mood back up to normal. My answer is Exercise.
Most people have heard the facts that exercising releases endorphines, a form of neurotransmitter that elevates your mood. This can cause you to feel a sensation known as 'Runner's High', a feeling of euphoria, where calmness overtakes any built up anger or stress. Whilst I am sure this science is correct, for me it is more the feeling of empowerment, strength and achievement that a workout provides which lifts me up again.
Channelling your Mood
|Nicely Bruised Legs|
When I step into the gym, I usually have a clear picture about what I want to do. This is especially the case if I am in a bad mood. I head straight for the squat rack, my favourite piece of equipment and load on the weights for an intense workout. Lowering slowly for 4 seconds allows me to harness the power to explode quickly up, driving from my legs to generate maximum power. With every explosive action, I feel my anger slowly dissipating as I channel it into hard work.
Another of my favourite exercises to relieve anger is box jumps. I find that nervousness at jumping to a certain height is never a factor when I'm angry, as all my inibitions go and I just want to smash it. I pile the boxes high and let my mind lift me as high as it will go. Yes, occasionally this does end in disaster and fairly bruised legs, but that only serves to lighten my mood as I laugh at myself stacking it on the gym floor.
Alone v Socialising
When in a bad mood, it is known that people tend to seek solitude and enjoy wallowing in their own misery. Now I too will vouch for the occasional session ploughing into a tub of icecream infront of the TV on my own, but actually this never seems to make things much better. Going to the gym and being in and around other hard working people really can cheer you up. I find that as soon as I combine my tough workout with a few bits of gym banter with fellow trainers, it was like I was never in a grump. I can leave all my built up anger in the gym and go home to my chocolate protein shake, rather than devouring all the chocolate bars in the house.
Give it a go
So next time you don't feel 100%, take yourself off down to the gym, go for a run or grab your bike and go for a cycle. The fresh air and exercise will do you good as well as 'releasing those endorphines' which will elevate your mood. Try to channel your emotions into getting the best workout possible as your built up frustration will allow you to lift heavier, go faster and be more powerful. If nothing else, it will justify the extra calories from that tub of Ben and Jerry's!