Why My Spirit Needs My Body to Sweat

I have a bit of a complicated history with exercise. I have gone through many phases over the last seven or eight years, where I want to exercise, get into a habit of running or doing yoga multiple times a week, and then something in my routine changes and I abandon everything, put back on those ten or twenty pounds and ignore any impulse to exercise ever again.

In January, after realizing that the way I was living my life (not working out and eating whatever I wanted) wasn’t going to help me have a happier life, I decided that I needed to make exercise a priority again. I tried yoga and workout videos on YouTube, and made that a part of my daily routine (or at least 3 times a week). I instantly noticed a difference. I know that for many, exercise is just something they do because they want to be thin, or because they feel they should, or because they want to eat that slice of cake. But for me, it’s very different. Elevating my heart rate and sweating is so essential to keeping my spirit happy. More than ever these past few months, I’ve realized how disconnected I had become from my body, and yes those extra pounds that crept up on me don’t make me feel great, but it’s really the lack of movement that has hurt my spirit.

I’ve read many articles recently, and in the past (especially when I was working on my Psychology minor in University) that show the link between exercise and improved mood, especially in those who suffer from mental illness. Though I have never been diagnosed, I am prone to anxiety and have suffered episodes of depression in the past, and the best way for me cope has always been to sweat it out.

I may go back to periods of inactivity again, but right now I really don’t want to, because my spirit needs the boost that only sore muscles and a glistening brow can give, whether that’s from yoga, running, cardio dance videos (a new favourite of mine), or long walks pushing my nephew in the stroller. My body may be slow on getting its strength back, but my spirit is already feeling like a winner.

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