When your body texts "B!tch, get off the sofa!"
Choke me in the fucking face with a fucking thigh master.
I know that’s what you are thinking. That’s what we are all thinking. Science says that’s what we are all thinking. In a recent survey taken by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) included that only 20.6 percent of people met the total recommended amounts of exercise -- about 23 percent of all surveyed men and 18 percent of surveyed women. (CBS News)
That’s about 80% of us missing out of the benefits of a regular exercise plan. Not to mention the risk of early death and a gazillion other problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Signs Your Body is Texting You: GET OFF THE COUCH
Do you have unexplained chronic tension in any part of your body that isn’t related to structural imbalances?
Any eating or sleeping disorders?
Do you find it difficult to regulate your emotions?
Yep. You probably aren’t exercising enough. Yes, it could be something else, but if you are one of the 20% that is exercising regularly, chances are you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog.
And it’s that last one that I want to unpack today: Emotions and feelings.
Look, I’m not here to explain how important and necessary exercise is to your body. Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that already.
One major factor most of us do not consider is the mind/body parallel does NOT exist. There is NO separation between the mind and body. They are contained within themselves. A simple concept. You can’t have a body without a brain. You can’t have a brain without the body.
In the same way, exercise doesn’t only benefit the BODY but the MIND. In a major way.
That’s right. We think of exercise as a way to get the body in better shape, But we can also use exercise to get the mind and emotions in better shape. By taking a bottom up approach (using the body to release trauma / stress) rather than using a top down approach (using talk to change the way we think and feel), we can reimagine our relationship with exercise as well as the reasons why we exercise. Because a regular exercise regimen really does affect how we feel, how we regulate emotions, how we can generally maintain happiness.
Science Shit: Exercise Could Replace Your Therapist
How can I emotionally feel better through physical exercise? So glad you asked.
It’s widely recognized that the body stores memories. (Want a perception-shattering read? Check out Secrets, Lies, Betrayals: The Body/Mind Connection) These memories become hardwired into our nervous system and effect all our thoughts, feelings and actions.
“We have only gradually come to appreciate that people in a wide variety of circumstances can suffer the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD),” Roger Saint-Laurent, Psy.D writes in Psychology Today. “We all know that traumatic events like war, severe accidents, or rape can lead to PTSD, though we may not know why. But, in fact, anything that is experienced as threatening our survival or wellbeing can generate PTSD-like symptoms and have a negative impact on our day-to-day interactions and activities. And we may not recognize what we are experiencing is symptoms of PTSD.”
Note how Saint-Laurent says anything experienced as trauma. This can even be self-deprecating thoughts and sensing self as a threat.
Simply put, it’s like this. Shit happens to you: good, bad, exciting, traumatic, thrilling, devastating. Let’s call these happenings “experiences.” When we have any experience, it changes our nervous system and biochemical makeup. When those experiences are strong enough (as in trauma) and/or chronic (as in repeated thought, feeling or behavior patterns), they can become wired into our body. You may be expressing those hardwired experiences symptomatically through chronic pain, disorders, repetitive problematic patterns, and yes, even depression.
Life = experiences = body storage = your body sending you mean texts.
Mere conversation (ie traditional therapy) may not alone break through to the trauma/stress that is stored in the body. Exercise will. Moving your body means pushing through those stored experiences.
I often pair workouts with conversation with my clients. Sit ups and focused meditations. Walking around the block while focusing on a certain memory or answer to a exploratory question. Doing a plank while concentrating on a certain chakra.
If you can’t get behind working out for personal health, think about it as a preventative measure against unhappiness, PTSD, and depression.
Fuck yes, exercise will help rid the body of stress and therefore change the way we interact with ourselves and the world. But exercise also increases BDNF.
MORE SCIENCE SHIT: What the hell is BDNF?
So glad you asked.
“BDNF is like Miracle-Gro for your brain.” That’s how Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey describes brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a powerful little protein that stimulates your production of new brain cells and strengthens existing ones. More specifically, when you release BDNF, it flips the switch on a series of genes that grow brand new brain cells and pathways. High BDNF makes you learn faster, remember better, age slower, and rapidly rewire your brain.
BDNF also increases your brain’s plasticity. When your brain cells get damaged or face a stressful situation, BDNF protects them and helps them come back stronger. Your neural pathways become more flexible instead of shutting down, which could explain why higher levels of BDNF are associated with warding off depression.
So BDNF is basically like liquid resilience for your brain. Dopeness. One of the best ways to increase it?
I know you don’t want to hear it.
Ex. Er. CISE.
Move your ass and your brain will thank you.
Our body just texted us GET OFF THE COUCH. What do we text back?
Anything you love, you make time for it. Start with making time for it. Schedule it in. Mornings are your golden time, wake up an hour earlier. Walk around the block on that lunch break. Hit that Zumba class after work. But decide that it is YOUR time, and let NO ONE break your stride or distract you. Even YOU. Make time and commit. That’s what love is.
Food is an important part of any workout regimen, obvi. But I guess what I find the most annoying about a good workout is how shitty your muscles feel afterward. Exercise actively tears muscles down so that they can recover and build back stronger. This necessary process--though it does reduce over time--hurts like a motherfucker. And pain is DEFINITELY a mitigating factor when convincing ourselves we do not need to hit the gym the next day. Focus on foods that helps reduce that shitty feeling:
Protein Shakes (Try The System By Stacy!)
Just. Start. Somewhere. Move - walk, do yoga, do martial arts, go for a bike ride or jump rope. Do something for fuck’s sake. Get your body moving. Get your endorphins pumping. Even as your body resists, you’ll start to sense a difference pretty soon. But whatever you do. Never stop.
Pay attention to your evolution. As you begin to get stronger, keep adding new challenges. Add more weight to your bar. Add more time to your run, another lap to your swim. Stay one step ahead of your threshold of pain. Keep pushing. Daily. And watch yourself rise. Watch yourself become exactly the person you wanted to be.
Questions or comments? Hit me up here or on any fuckin’ platform you want!
Thanks so much for listening to your body with me. And with every conversation please: Love, Energize, Move, and Rise!
See you next week.