It is astounding what a positive effect exercising has had in every aspect of my life. And I do mean EVERY.
Out of the blue, in 2011, my foot started hurting really bad. I went to the doctor and he shot me up with cortisone. It gave relief for 2 days. Then, the pain came back with a vengeance. I demanded another shot. The doctor wouldn’t do it. Instead, he recommended that I get special inserts for my sneakers and start walking.
His advice felt overwhelming. I was too ashamed to move or be seen. I had long abandoned all exercise routines, out of humiliation for having gained so much weight. Not only was I dealing with the over-weight of my body (I weighed 294 lbs), but also the weight of depression. I was terrified of losing the ability to walk, so I decided to make a walking plan of action.
My 1st goal was to walk around the block for the next 7 days. After a week, some of the pain in my foot went away, but not much. A more noticeable benefit was that my walks slightly lifted my spirits. It was so subtle that I was surprised I could even detect it. But it was there.
The next week my goal was to walk around three blocks. First thing, I began each day with a walk. It gave me an excuse to get out of the house. I felt refreshed with the breathing of movement. Clean air. Birds. Green grass. Big sky. I felt hopeful when the sun hit my face, even as I still felt depressed, monotone and ruminating in negative thoughts. Walking was like a break from analyzing myself and the world around me. There was less thinking and more moving. Funny how when I walked, those same days were always more productive and structured too.
12 weeks later—I was walking for one hour increments at least three times a week. The pain from my foot had completely vanished and the depression had lifted. Amazing.
Today, I feel 100,000 times better after I have finished working out, then I do before I start. And that’s verbatim. Exercise is a miraculous tool to shift your mood, blow off steam, transform stress, get out of your head, feel your own strength and endurance and raise your self-esteem.