Saturday, March 16, 2013

Stressed over stressing. Or not.

Snowy Saturday post-bootcamp lunch: Surimi and cucumber salad in a mustard sauce and a socca with kale and garlic.

Been fighting some achy flu-like feelings the past few days, but I've still made it to the gym, even for today's extra Saturday session of bootcamp with my trainer. I'm not saying that in a smug, superior way, but rather, more with a tone of amazement. Usually the easiest excuse of not going to the gym or for a run or whatever has always been "I don't feel well."

To me, exercise had always been a chore. I'm not sure when I actually had a clickable moment regarding an exercise regimen, but I do acknowledge it's different now. My trainer refers to me as a real gym rat, although I hope I never get to this level.

Even with a injured swollen shin, I hobbled to the gym to work out the rest of my body. I've gone with cuts, bruises, opened callouses and ankle issues. The only training session I've missed in the past two years was the one where I had just been put on antibiotics for a respiratory infection. If I'm out of town, I still try to exercise. (One caveat: As Pilates is on Sunday, I do tend to miss more of those due to conflicts, but I still run the 10 miles if I'm not working with my Pilates guy.)

I still know I HAVE to continue to do this, but it no longer is the case that I don't WANT to do this.

And now there's a new report showing that enforced exercise or exercise under stress is as beneficial as other exercise. "Stress exercise?" The NY Times article citing this report defined it as working out because your doctor or spouse makes you.

And then they pointed out the study had only been done on rats. I bet those rat spouses can be real bitchy.

So again, this is sort of "der" research. Yes, exercise makes us feel better, even if we start out not controlling it. Expending energy can help us deal with stressful situations better. However, I do feel that it takes an extra step to continue during stressful times. It's very easy to stop the workouts, even easier than falling back on bad food habits. 

But I still say it doesn't get easier. I like doing working out now but I still worry that it might slip. But hearing it from other people that I SHOULD do it is not going to push me.

On the other hand, I know these past few years for me have not been stress-free. On the contrary, they've been nerve-working firestorms of stressful activity. And now I wonder how I might have handled it if I hadn't been such a gym rat during this time. Forget if I'd be thin. Would I even be healthy?  Would I even be alive?

I'll just keep joining the rats on their treadmill.


Greenwood, Benjamin N, Katie G Spence, Danielle M Crevling, Peter J Clark, Wendy C Craig, and Monika Fleshner. “Exercise-induced Stress Resistance Is Independent of Exercise Controllability and the Medial Prefrontal Cortex.” The European Journal of Neuroscience 37, no. 3 (February 2013): 469–478. doi:10.1111/ejn.12044.

“When Exercise Stresses You Out.” Well. Accessed March 14, 2013.

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