Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Feeling angry or feeling fit?

Yesterday, I had a marathon of grading and of end-of-semester of planning and spent six or more hours in front of my computer. It’s to be expected and not abnormal at this time of year, but with my other daily obligations, I was simply in a grumpy mood.

I wasn’t mad at any particular person or event, but my mood shifted. I realized my mood changed because I was not able to exercise. My sedentary day affected my mental state of mind. Not working out now negatively affects my mood, and my experience yesterday led me to think more about anger, which is the theme of today’s post.

I have come to one absolute conclusion: If you feel angry, frustrated, or upset on a fairly regular basis, you absolutely must incorporate daily fitness into your routine.

It is inexcusable to take one’s anger out on his or her spouse, children, co-workers, anyone or anything. Part of human nature, however, is that we do become angry, some more frequently than others. There is a solution, a solution so simple: daily fitness. 

There’s only one place to get angry and feel good using that anger: working out. We can use frustration and anger to better ourselves by working harder, whether that is running a bit faster or doing extra repetitions of some exercise. Fitness provides a natural outlet and a healthy release for anger, and the more you incorporate fitness into your routine, the less anger you will feel at home or at work.

My point here is simple and two-fold. First, if you ever feel angry or frustrated and do not work out, then make a change! You will be surprised at how your mood improves, and your friends, family, and colleagues will certainly appreciate a more positive you. Additionally, you will be improving your health and fitness, and we know the benefits with improved physical fitness are virtually limitless.

Secondly, if you do exercise fairly regularly but still find yourself getting angry and frustrated, it’s time to change your fitness routine. Variety is the key to results in the fitness world, but variety is also the secret to maintaining a positive state of mind and eliminating anger and frustration from one’s life.

So how do you start? First of all, I would never encourage people to buy a treadmill or similar machine for their home. Thinking that you can get fit with one machine and one routine is like thinking you can eat well by eating the exact same cereal brand every day for the rest of your life. I don’t know about you, but I can’t eat the same cereal for more than a week. I need variety, and home exercise machines quite frankly lead to boredom. It will only be a matter of weeks before you find that machine covered in dust.

You need variety and fun. That’s why I teach the fitness classes I do, which have brand new routines and moves every two months. That’s why I encourage the home fitness programs I do: you get a variety of workouts that have a start and stop date, and then you can mix it up and do something different.

I am at a point now where I feel angry when I cannot or do not exercise. To me, that’s an accomplishment. My mind and body know what it takes to feel better. 

Today, I also had a marathon of grading and I’m preparing for summer classes, but I made a simple goal: I would exercise today no matter what. And I did. And the negative mood I felt yesterday is history. I feel energized, positive, and ready to inspire a brand new batch of students tomorrow morning.

So, how do you feel?

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