Exercise, the Mood Altering Drug

14 Oct

Of all the mood-altering drugs available on and off the market, the one I use is free: exercise. The original reason I began exercising was to lift my mood.  Divorce, living in a new town with no family or friends, raising a son on my own, it’s something I faced years ago as many women still do today. I read an article that exercise was good for depression. The author was right. I’ve exercised to keep depression at bay and I’ve never regretted it. Of course, there are other benefits to exercise.

Exercise Promotes Weight Loss and Stamina

When you’re overweight it’s difficult to feel energetic. Carrying around all that excess weight baggage is tiring. Exercise helps people lose weight and keep it off. I lost over 20 pounds exercising and my original goal as I mentioned above wasn’t weight loss! I don’t want to put that weight back on and that motivates me to continue exercising. Not only that, but I have tremendous energy, even after I work out. I find that the more I do, the more I CAN do!

And speaking of can do, as a homeowner, I can find plenty of things to do. I mow my lawn, wash and wax my car, do housework, shovel snow off my driveway, paint, putty, plant trees, and so on. I like being independent and doing these things myself. Exercising keeps me limber and helps me get these jobs done. When I’ve completed a painting job that includes puttying and or Spackling, my body doesn’t ache all over because my muscles are accustomed to being used – and I’m no spring chicken!

When you compare the benefits of exercising, even on days when you don’t feel up to it, to sitting on the couch with a bag of chips watching TV, can you really ignore all the benefits you’d derive from exercising? It doesn’t mean that I never buy a bag of chips to eat when I watch TV. But when I do, I buy tortilla chips that aren’t fried or are made in a healthful way and I don’t buy the biggest bag out there! On the other hand, I enjoy a nice cold, crunchy, juicy, apple with peanut butter just as much and it’s much better for me without the guilt!

Exercise Reduces the Need for Medications and Doctor Visits

They’re saying that the older generation is hell-bent on exercising and following a healthful diet because they want to live “forever.” I don’t want to live forever but I want to live healthfully until I die, even if I die tomorrow. I am motivated to exercise so I can stay off medications, set up only wellness visits to my doctors, and enjoy an active lifestyle until the day I die.

Exercise and Mediterranean Diet Dodge Cancer

Several years ago when my sister went for a checkup, she happened to mention me to her doctor. The doctor said, “If she’s 65 and hasn’t had any cancer, she’s doing very well!” I exercise and follow the Mediterranean diet to avoid getting cancer  and it’s been working for me so far.

Treat Your Body Like a New Car

Think of it this way if it helps, treat yourself like a new car. Would you put inferior gas in your new car? You wouldn’t abuse your car that way. Yet you would abuse your body with junk food! Why would you treat your car, a hunk of metal, plastic, paint, glass, and textiles, better than your body? Would you allow the tires to go flat, skip oil changes, and ignore other maintenance necessary to keep your car running smoothly? Your car can’t take you where you want to go if you ignore the necessary upkeep. The same is true of your body.

Death Becomes Her

When we were kids growing up in the neighborhood, we thought it was cool to say, “Live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse.” Well, my living fast days are over; it’s too late for me to die young, but I think I still have a shot at having a good-looking corpse. Not that I’m in any hurry.

If this and all pep talks don’t motivate you to exercise and watch your diet, see your doctor to find out why.





10 Responses to “Exercise, the Mood Altering Drug”

  1. Gerard Villanueva October 26, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Hi Marcella, I do have small weights I used as a press when I made cheese a while back. They are at perfect increments so I can increase the weight when I feel I’m ready. Another possibility is that I work on the 21st floor of a building. Perhaps I can take the stairs to the floor I work instead of the elevator. I can start easy and work up. I mentioned that I take the stairs between 2 floors whenever I can, I know how difficult it would be to jog up 21. An activity I’ve just realized is good for you is juggling, something I used to do everyday. I’ve started it up again and immediately felt how rusty I am. It’s fun and from what I’ve been reading is a good healthy workout. Juggling chainsaws and knives on the other hand, are another matter, I’ll never give those a try! That could be very unhealthy. Three balls is challenge enough. I’ll see how things go, I haven’t started a routine yet. Thank you for your advice and tips!


    • Marcella Rousseau October 27, 2014 at 11:35 am #

      Taking the stairs is a very good way to stay in shape. I wish I had stairs to climb! Juggling sounds like fun! If an exercise is fun, you are more likely to do it. It’s also good for eye-hand coordination. I’m always delighted to know when a follower finds inspiration from my blog and comes up with their own form of exercise – one that I hadn’t thought of. Stay away from chainsaws! I hate those things – too dangerous! You could juggle bread rolls! I’m sure you have plenty of those! : – )


  2. Gerard Villanueva October 21, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    Thank you very much for the your response! I think I could use a little more exercise, I’ll look into the elliptical machines and see if it’s practical for me. I liked using the stationary bike while catching up on a favorite program or latest news. Both of my dogs are not always cooperative when I want to jog with them. They each have their own pace and inclinations they prefer. At least I know that my activity at work is better than sitting. I also make it a point to take the stairs if I’m not carrying too heavy a load. A work buddy used to do some knee lifts and arm raises, but it became too much of a distraction with people ribbing him about it all the time. Maybe squats and knee lifts at home would be better.

    It’s been a while since my last post, I guess it was long unintended break. Time does fly sometimes. I hope to get back on it very soon.
    Thank you!


    • Gerard Villanueva October 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

      Thanks for the info and encouragement!


      • Marcella Rousseau October 25, 2014 at 11:32 am #

        How is your exercise program working? I was thinking since you work with a lot of flour, could you do some “weight lifting” with 5 lb (or more) bags of flour? These would be good to hold when you are doing squats. It would make the squats harder and be more challenging. Hold the bags up by the front of your shoulders touching them, then squat. When these exercises stop being challenging, use heavier bags of flour. When you squat, make sure your weight is balanced in the heels of your feet. If you have had knee pain in the past, do modified squats only squatting half way. It’s a shame that your work buddy took a ribbing about exercising. Shame on the ribbers! You could have had a work-OUT buddy. Maybe you could re-interest him and chide the ribbers for taking so little interest in their health.


    • Marcella Rousseau October 25, 2014 at 11:24 am #

      The elliptical machine is similar to the stationary bike in that you could watch TV or the news too. Stairs are very good! Use them as often as possible! It’s great that you have a work buddy who used to do knee lifts and arm raises – see if you can get him to do them with you and maybe convince one or two others. Soon you will have a class!


  3. P. C. Zick October 20, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Amen again and again!


  4. Gerard Villanueva October 20, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    Hi Marcella, I’m sure I can use more exercise. I walk my dogs 30-45 minutes day. I do some work around the house. At work, I’m standing or walking 95% or more of the time. I know I’m not jogging but it is active work. Does that count? I used to use a stationary bike someone gave me but it was uncomfortable. Maybe I should find another model.


    • Marcella Rousseau October 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

      Hi Gerard! I was just thinking of you and then got your comment. Have you taken a break from blogging? Yes, to answer your question, all the things you mention count as exercise. Standing is much better than sitting all day. The way I know if I’m getting enough exercise is if I start gaining weight. If you are already overweight, then yes, you need either do more exercise or cut back on the foods you eat or both. I had a stationary bike too. The strap on it broke and that was the end of that. I didn’t like it much. Elliptical machines are better if you can afford one. They are easier on the joints. You should also add weight lifting to your routine. That really burns the calories. Sometimes when I’m in the kitchen waiting for the microwave to cook whatever, I do knee-lifts and arm raises. I don’t know if you would be able to do that at work or if they would look at you funny, but you could try it. Squats would also be very good as they really get the heart pumping!


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