Welcome to my blog! It’s about the influence of exercise on my anxiety and self confidence.
Until March 2018 I didn’t realise what anxiety actually was. Of course I used to get nervous when starting a new job or trying a new experience but I had no idea how hard the daily struggle is for a person living with anxiety. 2018 it all changed. My life as I knew it changed.
For the next few months I became agitated, angry and scared. Scared to leave the house, scared the meet friends. The only place I was comfortable was at home.
However, in August 2018 a friend encouraged me to join the gym. Our local gym, nothing fancy, just some cardio equipment and weights- I’m very lucky to be slim but my fitness levels weren’t great! To start with I went a couple of times a week. I restricted my routine to the treadmill, cross trainer and bike because I constantly assumed everyone else was watching me. I thought I wasn’t good enough or fit enough to use any of the weights. This was the anxiety taking over, putting irrational thoughts into my head. The reality is that no one was watching me, but I didn’t see it that way.
Fast forward a month and I decided to try out the leg weights. Although this was progress I still avoided other areas of the gym. My confidence was starting to grow slowly. Another couple of months passed and I started to use the arm weights that were being used by the “fitness professionals”- you know, the ones with the muscles like the hulk (definitely more toned than me), but I still didn’t feel confident and only used these at quiet times. Each time I went to the gym, the level of endorphins in my body increased. I started to feel less anxious and made a few friends who attended the gym regularly.
A year later- September 2019. I was in a completely new place. Happy, (fairly) confident and less anxious than a year previously. The core exercises kicked in- planking, sitting twists, v-ups, sit ups etc. I really wanted to start and improve my core strength (and too get a toned tummy too…).
We’re now in January 2020 and I’m still completing these exercises. The difference now is that I don’t care what anyone else in the gym thinks. Some of them are too busy looking at themselves in the mirror anyway!! I now use all of the equipment in the gym (and not just at the quiet times like previously). Going to the gym has 110% improved my mood, confidence and self-esteem. I still deal with anxiety daily, but a gym session (usually only 45 mins) makes the world of difference!
The gym hasn’t improved my anxiety alone- I also had a psychologist and medication, but I know for a fact that it has played a major factor!
If you’re reading this and are thinking “I’m struggling with my anxiety”, you don’t need to get a gym membership (they can be expensive) but you can go for a 10 minute walk, a run or do some yoga in your living room. All of these are free and can fit around your home life. Give it a go- you will see an improvement in your mood and confidence instantly.
Over the coming weeks & months I will be posting my gym routines and suggestions of exercises that help my mental health (I’m no professional, but the recommendations have worked for me).
The author of the gym, anxiety & me X