FITNESS & NUTRITIONHow Exercise Helps Your Mental Health

How Exercise Helps Your Mental Health

By: Dan Rogers Co-Founder/Head Coach of rxRecourse 

Let’s face it; you see some of the most gruesome stuff possible on the job and this has an impact on your mind.  

It can consume some, interrupt what would otherwise be a great day with your family or friends when you’re not at work, and even take up space from relaxing. Or perhaps it fills up your cup to the point where it’s just a battle day to day with getting through your daily tasks to check the box that you had a day without a meltdown on the ones you care about most. Snapping on your kids or wife or friend or neighbor. Being indifferent to them too. Lots goes on and you know what, most of society will never really understand.  

So now what? 

What happens to your physical health because of the burden that is placed on you mentally while being on the job? Where do you go? Do you relieve it by cracking a cold one and having a laugh? Do you wash it away by lifting weights? Do you handle it by ….?

What do you do? Where do you go? 

One of the best possible ways to help with combating the negative outcomes associated with PTSD is physical exercise. You got it. Being active, often, and in your own way.

What does that mean? A run, a barbell, a sled, a wrestle, a boxing bag, a kettlebell, a mix of all and more. Something active that works for YOU to help YOU process, melt away the heavy and get on the other side of what is some of the more deeply dark stuff people in our society see and carry. Bonus, with someone else so you can crack each other up, push each other to show up and help see some better you. 

ACTIVITY.  

You don’t have to, you GET to be active. Unlike many others in our society. Yes, sure from the outside it’s seen as a responsibility of being on the job, but they do not see the interference that often comes from being on the job as it pertains to being active.  

The job is exhausting at times. 

You may travel a significant distance to and from work and when you get home, it might be time to go with your family. You might have a side hustle on your days off. You may think activity is 90 minutes of strength and conditioning or bust. It’s not.   

Here are some suggestions to help with the mental hurdles that you experience when you come off shift:  

  • 15 min is better than 0. Every time.
  • Consistency works better than big bad workouts. 
  • More endorphins and dopamine more often = healthier and happier you.
  • Leave your workout gear ready (clothes laid out, shoe laces untied).
  • Get an accountability buddy. Someone you workout with, you tell your workout to, who bugs you to be active and who you trust. Selfishly. It works. 
  • Know that you’ll have days where you miss. Just look to pick it up the next day. The goal is better, not perfect.  
  • You don’t HAVE to be active, you GET to be.  
  • Choose activity when you are the most stressed from work. Always. 

Photo by Omid Armin