Exercise = My happy pill.
I was 30 years old when I had my beautiful boy, Fabio and it had never occurred to me for 1 second that I might suffer from post natal depression.
Unprepared as I was, it hit me really hard. I'd always been the "in control" person. The one that never loses control.
Whatever intoxicants i'd been around in my "days" and I'd always maintained some usually greater degree of control. To this day I'm actually still the one worrying and taking care of those who get "out of it" when we're on a night out.
So post natal depression was a big shock to me and extremely frustrating. I had no choice but to seek advice from a Doctor. I was living in Miami at the time, and his suggested solution was the only one offered.
"Mrs Harris you need to go on Xanax", and that was it. Naive maybe, but also desperate I took the drug praying it would lift this horrible dark heavy cloud over me, and to some extent it did. The cloud was lifted but I was numb underneath.
I couldn't function, think, make decisions, I just felt like I was in the never ending twilight zone, and even felt "disconnected to my new son."
Out of nowhere, I decided to start exercising, and with the help of my Personal Trainer, Troy I started working out in what I now know was a very early form of HIIT training, twice a week for 30 minutes at a time. My love affair with exercise began that day, and I've never looked back and never taken a Xanax again in my life!!
I believe our generation was led to believe that popping a pill, was a logical, low risk solution in an age of uncertainty.
But here’s something that us anxious masses may need to be reminded of. There’s a large body of evidence that suggests that exercise can be even more effective than prescription drugs when it comes to preventing and easing anxiety and depression.
Especially because over time your brain becomes resistant to a drug’s effects (but not to exercise). When exercising several mechanisms may be at play, some of which are physical, like the release of feel-good hormones (endorphins and neurotransmitters), a reduction in inflammation, and the calming effect of a high body temperature.
Others are psychological, such as a confidence boost and the distraction from daily worries while you focus on burning calories (and your rockin’ playlist). Think of exercise being dosed through your body as a medicine, with ONLY positive side effects.
The effect of taking a prescription drug today, usually lasts 18–24 hours in your system.
The effects of exercise are almost exactly the same and can be even more than 24 hours.
But just like taking your medicine. You've got to keep "taking it" to get long lasting benefits. The most important thing is to find a workout (or series of workouts) that you enjoy so that you’ll be more likely to stick with it. It may be a little bit harder than calling in your prescription, but you’ll be a happier and healthier person in the long run.
15 years on, 10 years as a personal trainer myself, my mission is to help as many as possible to fall in love with exercise. Here at Results with Lucy, we have many programmes available to help ease you into exercising. 🙌🏽
Only had a baby 12 weeks ago? We've got a post-natal programme for you! Had a baby 6 years ago, but finally feel ready to get into exercise? We've got plenty of programmes available for you, and the best thing is... we're giving you access to it for free for 10 DAYS!