I need to exercise for my mental health (struggling) but just can’t get started. If it’s helped you please can you share how?

(17 Posts)
Littlemiss74 Sun 06-Jun-21 18:03:37

So I’m 45 & am have not exercised properly in a long while. I would like to lose a few pounds & feel stronger & fitter. Over the past year I have become more anxious for various reasons & being peri menopausal doesn’t help.

I need to do something to help myself & have read so much about exercise being a big help for anxiety. I would also like to have something in my life that is just for me, so I can escape the madhouse at home, work etc..

My work offer a gym scheme & I’m thinking about joining but I keep putting it off. They do classes as well as the gym which I thought i might like although when I looked some of them sound quite intense!

I do have a dog so I get out at least once a day for a walks but I want something just for me. Trouble is I have never liked exercise but I know I will feel better doing it as i have done before.

I just feel stuck in a vicious circle of anxiety & low mood & I have to do something about it or my life will continue to be a struggle. I just always find reasons to put it off🙁

Please can anyone help? Has anyone else felt this way & made an exercise a part of their life & found it helps?

OP’s posts: |
FindingMeno Sun 06-Jun-21 18:07:04

Remember there's loads more stuff out there than the gym.
How about trying something outdoors, out of your comfort zone, and a bit thrilling and challenging.
Rock climbing is an example of this.
You may need to try a few things before you find the right fit.
Yoga? Very calming.
Open water swimming?

Littlemiss74 Sun 06-Jun-21 18:08:37

Thank you I would like to try yoga, that is one of the classes they do - i just feel a bit self conscious joining I suppose

OP’s posts: |
FindingMeno Sun 06-Jun-21 18:10:48

Yoga people are usually some of the loveliest in my experience. Try it! And good luck - I hope it helps you.

Littlemiss74 Sun 06-Jun-21 18:12:25

Thank you @FindingMeno I’m struggling to be honest & need to make an effort to do something about it.

OP’s posts: |
FakeTanandProsecco Sun 06-Jun-21 18:36:02

I hate exercising in front of people (thanks high school PE!!) But have started bouldering (low level climbing without ropes). I did an introductory course at the local rock climbing centre and met someone on my level I now semi-regularly climb with. I'm still rubbish 2 years down the line BUT it helps me mentally so much! And I love challenging myself as I'm still a bit scared of heights 😂

Spodge Sun 06-Jun-21 18:37:12

I used the fake it til you make it approach. I signed up for some PT sessions at the gym, put exercise time in the diary and just did it. Didn't expect to enjoy it or even feel particularly good afterwards. I only signed up for the PT because I wanted to learn to use weights safely due to approaching menopause and concerns about staving off osteoporosis. In fact I fell in love with it and now my exercise is non-negotiable.

I also discovered during lockdown that I need exercise for my mental health. I had a few "I can't be bothered" days and realised I felt far worse than if I just gritted my teeth and got on with it.

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Fluffandbubbles Sun 06-Jun-21 18:43:55

I started slowly by just being more active, walking, gardening etc Then joined a massive zumba class in a school hall and hid at the back (I never did the same steps as everyone else!). Then couch to 5k and joined a social running club. Lately I’ve started doing Kettlercise (kettlebells to music) building up from 20 min facebook classes to 30 and 45/50 next. Finally on the days I don’t run I go for a 3 mile fast walk before work. Now I’ve built up to 2 x kettlebells, 3 runs (30-40 mins) and 3 or 4 walks a week. I hate exercise so short bursts by myself /at home works well for me keeping it varied.

HeavenHotel Sun 06-Jun-21 18:45:04

littlemiss get up half an hour earlier, I know know it's hard enough getting out of bed at the normal time, never mind earlier.

But do it, for me, and just walk. Walk 15 mins there and 15 mins back.

Look at the sky and the trees and listening to the birds.

That half an hour will make all the difference, sometimes I get out of bed crying, but I do it. And always always always am glad that I did.

As you're walking around think of all the things you're grateful for, your mobility, water just coming out of taps, no long walk to the well. Think of everything.

Let's you and me do it tomorrow! On this thread!

Littlemiss74 Sun 06-Jun-21 18:45:53

@Spodge wow well done, this is what I want to do! Can you tell me when you go as in what time of day & how often each week? I’m either working or looking after the dc’s so evenings or weekends are the best option but then of course I am knackered in the evenings & weekends we have clubs, house jobs & family time. See, I’m always making excuses! Do you do any classes? I get bored so easily..

OP’s posts: |
GravityFalls Sun 06-Jun-21 18:46:59

I don’t really like exercise but I run and it’s good mentally and physically. The best thing is, you don’t need much time or stuff, you just start from home and you’re back at home when you’re done! Doesn’t matter how slow or far you go, nobody else knows when or where you started. Sometimes I’d literally get up the road, get fed up and come back. No problem. You still feel better afterwards!

Nettleskeins Sun 06-Jun-21 18:57:03

Please check your thyroid and vitamin D levels. I felt like you, tried to kick-start myself by running and felt much worse very quickly (I needed to have levothyroxine and vitamin D supplements) - exercise should follow a general health check if you are anxious and exhausted beforehand.

I am 55 and have a dog. I found the biggest recent pick me up has been "heavy work"...digging the garden, carrying bags from supermarket at a fast pace, scrubbing, hoovering, decluttering bags of rubbish. I think it reduces anxiety because it isn't just endorphins but it "rebalances" the brain in a particular way...an OT would probably be able to explain it better than me...something to do with proprioception.

HalfShrunkMoreToGo Sun 06-Jun-21 19:01:16

Sometimes going into the gym is daunting, I started at home doing these videos through Our Parks which is a free couch to fitness programme. Once I realised I could do it without falling flat on my face or dropping from the exertion going to the gym was less of a big step.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?fbclid=IwAR3yy-UnDb-FABEih_aZaxZyy8-7r4TLMNvacIocybBwVHWlxeZXmHaFEZE&list=PLzyGqy4hi5yAr4wQImo5HgwZIZ58PVyY-&app=desktop

Spodge Sun 06-Jun-21 19:06:50

@Littlemiss74 - I work from home so have freedom in when I exercise. I choose to exercise in the morning as I don't eat breakfast and I train better when fasted. I started at 3 days a week for about 45 minutes, quickly went up to 6 days a week and currently am 6 or 7 days a week for anything between 45 mins and 90 mins depending on what my plan is for that day.

I've tried a few classes at the gym but I don't enjoy them. During lockdown our gym gave us access to all the Les Mills online classes plus lots of others. I tried several in case they appealed, but they didn't. I prefer to exercise at my own pace. A lot of my friends really love the classes, though, and wouldn't miss them for the world, so definitely try them if you join the gym.

Hiring a PT was key for me, as I was getting some structure and could get help with things I wanted to be able to do. For instance I'd always wanted to be able to water ski and always failed. So the PT helped me plan how to improve my grip strength and core strength. I started to believe I would one day manage a proper press up - now I can do them. Still working on the pull up. Fell in love with boxing along the way.

You really need to try different things until something clicks. I now know that long, repetitive stuff like running is totally not for me but anything involving generation of power really appeals. Having ascertained what I like and what my goals are I have developed the discipline to do any slower grind work that I need to get there.

People talk about motivation, but that comes and goes. Exercise needs to be a habit if it is to get done regularly. And if you don't do it regularly at first then you run the risk of never finding what you like and reaping the benefits. Once you start reaping the benefits you are much more inclined to keep going.

I cannot tell you how much of a mental lift feeling stronger and fitter gave me. It also got me through the deaths of my dogs - before exercise I would just have bawled on the sofa, mainlining chocolate and alcohol.

colouringcrayons Sun 06-Jun-21 19:12:18

Hi, I found doing fifteen minutes of something really intense was better for mood than hours of something slow.

I wouldn;t sign up for anything costly/membership at this stage in case it is the wrong thing for you.

If you can think of nothing else just getting out for a walk is worth doing - a really fast walk can lift mood a lot.

AmIPeriOrAreYouJustAnnoying Sun 06-Jun-21 21:43:28

I totally hear you OP!
My thing is swimming. Need to get back into it since the lockdown buggered up my stride.

tribpot Sun 06-Jun-21 21:50:41

Is your Council gym offering online classes at the moment? (Mine is). Could be a good way to get started. Alternatively I've been doing YouTube exercise classes throughout lockdown - walking-based, as I need stuff that's low impact. My faves

Walk with Leslie - the group classes can be a bit too whoopingly American but she does solo ones as well.

Get Fit With Rick - I did the 80s one today which was a great pick-me-up with some classic tunes.

Reps to the Rhythm - good fun and with bonus cats.

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