I do not need to explain to anyone the importance of daily exercise. We all know how good it is for us and it is particularly essential for bi-polics. The endorphin release together with a feeling of satisfaction from doing the exercise goes a very long way to maintaining brain stability. It requires scheduling, planning, selfishness (in a good way) and can cost nothing. For me it is walking TGO (The Golden One, my friend’s golden Labrador, who is called ‘’Vanille’’) for an hour each weekday. I walk in glorious forests and appreciate that special time bonding with the dog and nature. It is very peaceful, even with a racing brain. One day I hope to be able to walk without the radio on in my head and simply enjoy a walk without worry or a bombardment of thoughts. I do know how lucky I am to have this pleasure and never ever take it for granted. Working from home allows this and I understand that most people would long for such an hour.
I also adore running on my treadmill (see treadmill) although my 44 yr old limbs don’t like it. Tips about exercise include remembering what sport/exercise you liked as a child and go back to it. This may involve joining a club again, which is also positive stimulation. I know that I am still too isolated as far as mixing with other humans are concerned! The problem, of course, for bi-polics is too much stimulation causes over excitement and then exhaustion which then leads to retreating. This then leads to low mood and depression and the cycle continues. I remember watching an interview with Cilla Black who said that she exercised (i.e. did the jive) whilst she was in the kitchen and around the house. Housework is in itself exercise and many of you will not be comfortable with going to a gym. At the very least you can have a 15-minute – or even better – a 30-minute walk each day.
If you are familiar with the Ted Talks series on-line, you will find a very fun and interesting clip on finding 30 minutes in a 24 hour day for exercise. 30 minutes in 24 hours is all that is required. Now we can all do that, can’t we? Also you can change your exercise according to the seasons. Swimming is pretty miserable in the winter and lovely and refreshing in the summer. I guess the same could be said of running, although personally I love to run in the rain and cold. For others, gardening, Nordic walking, rambling. The exercise options are limitless really.
When exercise is removed from my life due to injury (sciatica at the moment of writing, which has stopped me walking/running now for almost 3 months), then I become very low and without the endorphins and sense of achievement, I can and have relapsed and had an episode.