We all know that physical health is important. Our doctors hammer that into our heads every time we visit. Health and fitness classes back in our grade school, high school, and even college days stressed on this matter. There’s so many physical and mental health benefits from getting regular exercise. It’s backed by decades of research.
All of the other letters in PLEASE tend to help one another. Exercise can help underlying physical illnesses. It can help you regulate your sleep patterns. And exercise is known to help improve your emotions.
Getting enough exercise can be different for everyone. For some people, who might be in shape, running a marathon or lifting weights at the gym is ideal. For others, playing outside with their children is enough. Anyone with kids knows that keeping up with them is exhausting.
As it goes with all things, don’t go into the extreme. You don’t start a diet by cutting yourself down to 500 calories and running 5 miles on the first day. You don’t even have to start out by running. If you haven’t exercised in awhile, start small with something you can keep up with daily. A short walk each day can cause a profound benefit.
My karate sensei has told me that if nothing else, do Sanchin kata three times a day. It doesn’t honestly sound like that much to do, but if you do it properly, you’ll feel it in all of your muscles. For me kata is a great mental health exercise as well as physicals one. As much as you might want to disassociate during exercise, this is the perfect time to be mindful and focus on what you are doing.
I know that some days it might not be easy to get up and go for a run if you’re so depressed or anxious that you don’t even want to leave your bed. Use your Opposite Action to get active. Once you get started and you complete some form of exercise, you will feel better. You get a sense of accomplishment and you will feel proud of yourself. And in turn, that will make you want to keep going.
Exercising is a great way to distract. It removes your focus from ruminating and negative thoughts. Focus on what you’re doing in the moment. Work on your breathing. A lot of times, exercise is even more difficult because we don’t breath properly during the physical activity. If you’re working on building mastery with exercise, start small.
Take a walk, focus on your breathing. Start with a mile. Do something within your ability range before working your way up. Increase the challenge in small increments. Just as you practice your DBT skills, you’ll hone your body with exercise. Improving things little by little until your stamina is better.
I’ve gone over a list of activities from the Accumulate Positives skill set and I’ve added a red star next to some of the physical activities that would definitely count for exercise.
Way back in the day, I remember one of my therapists offering a DBT Yoga session. I was no where near ready to do any kind of group therapy setting let alone an exercise one. I hate that I missed out on that, but now I’ve beginning to shift my gears and look towards picking up more activities that will allow me to interact with others. (In a pandemic friendly way.) For now, I’m doing the basic research as my brain likes to do with every new obsession.
I’ve mentioned before that you can use your local library card on Overdrive or Libby to get digital books and audiobooks, right? Well, this also includes magazines. So I’ve pulled up one of my favorites: Yoga Journal. I feel like this month’s issue was written specifically for me~! A ton of mindful exercises and breathing exercises. I’ve snapped some screenshots of my favorite parts.
These all really sound amazing. I just wish it was easier to put this into actual physical practice. I’m going to give these a try. I’m using you all to hold myself accountable! Tell me if you end up trying these yoga moves. Maybe I’ll take some TikTok videos of what I do and share the awkwardness of it with you all.
Thanks for tuning in today, guys! Only a few more days of National Suicide Prevention Week! We’ve got this!