How Your Mental State Influences Your Physical Activity

I remember when I was having such great years! I was getting my Master’s Degree, I was practicing kickboxing, I was attending make-up school…

I could do it all and I felt great. I needed to move around, not necessarily felt an urge to exercise but just not to stop and relieving all pressures during trainings (sometimes twice a day!).

Then all courses ended, I got a dislocated shoulder and all of a sudden, my constant moving world stopped.

Lifestyle changed

It was brutal how the lifestyle changed and I suddenly fell into depression.

I wouldn’t go near the gym. I created a “comfort zone” that was an area in which I felt safe (agoraphobia is a bitch when it hits) which comprised the mall my street. So, I felt safe in a place of fast food and monotony. From biking away about 7 miles everyday I went to being awake for about 7 hours a day. I slept a lot.

playing games and exercising
Exercising will keep you healthy; image source:

I have to say I tried to continue to go to the gym, I needed that routine, but my shoulder needed rest and my head needed to stop too – I just didn’t get that part. I thought that all that was wrong was in my body, not my mind.

I got medicated and rapidly went from 50kgs to 75. I didn’t recognize myself but I also didn’t care. My Mom cried when she saw me after 2 months. I didn’t understand why. Now I get her. I spent months and months indulging in bad habits and avoiding any remembrance of my life before that. It was easier to think that it had always been that way.

My Mom also created some pieces for my wardrobe, anything that wasn’t elastic wouldn’t fit. There was a lady who approached me in the street and rubbed my belly – “Is it a girl or a boy?” – “Errr… not pregnant. Medication…” – she bounced back “Are you sure?! That is a pregnant belly!” – “YES I AM SURE”. And I ran home to cry.

The gray fog that was around me and kept me sleeping and eating and just “existing” went away the same way as it came – without me even noticing it. When I realized I was out of depression, I was afraid. Would I ever be the same? Am I the same person I was before? Could I be that active extrovert I once thought I was?

I looked in the mirror and I felt ugly, I felt I wasn’t myself, none of my clothes fitted me – reality hit. It wasn’t that I thought I was fat, it just wasn’t me. I’ve met a lot of people who have had the same problem with different medications. One day I was having trouble breathing.

I didn’t do anything to set it of but as I suffer from asthma I went to the hospital. I was quickly in a consultation with a specialist – they were just as worried as I was. After an x-ray and close inspection, the doctor told me what made my mind click back to what it was – “You are not having trouble breathing, it has nothing to do with your lungs…. How do I say this… You just have a blob of fat in your neck that is pressing it so much that you feel you have something in there”. No treatment no nothing, just going back home to reflect on having trouble breathing due to “a blob of fat” in my neck. I never imagined I’d have those type of problems or that they even existed!

Bouncing back

After a few days trying to disconnect from all the bad things I thought were happening, I started to make everything I could to rewind. My shoulder was okay enough but I couldn’t go back to kickboxing. So I decided I would be doing things on my own. I visited a nutritionist, I got some advice for working out at home, I researched what I needed to do to me – body and soul.

Slowly but surely I equipped myself for doing exercises at my own pace – I bought wrist and ankle weights, jumping ropes and other small things. I would do everything alone and I would manage myself! I also got some apps on my phone and a personal plan. I started a routine at home of about an hour a day. Firstly, I just walked for an hour. Moved for an hour. But then added 20 mins of jumping rope and 20 mins of Yoga. Not a long time after though, I felt I needed something that would make me sweat, would leave me tired and needing a shower.

I wanted to go running but I tried it once and had an asthma attack so right then and there I decided I needed something else. I couldn’t handle going back to the gym, I was still too frail.

I asked for a ride to a sports store a bit far from here and I drooled at the treadmills. How I loved to soak my t-shirt in sweat at the gym treadmills! I couldn’t resist and I left with one!

Everyone told me what a bad idea it was, that it was going to be stopped all the time, etc. I didn’t care. I now know myself better. If I’m a bit depressed and avoid going outside, I’m doing things right here, at home! I can watch TV as I’m running! I can listen to my favourite songs instead of the same-old of the gym! I love it! I pushed myself harder and harder, more and more time at higher speeds – when I thought my body was getting tired I pushed extra harder – it’s only when it hurts that you’re actually burning stuff up fast!

My comfort zone spread back again and I felt more comfortable outside but I really loved how I could run for 40 minutes and get in the shower and in my pijamas in under 5 minutes. It is so convenient that it reinforces your will power, the effort becomes lessened and everything flows easier in your daily schedule to the facility of jumping on a treadmill and run for miles at any time you want!

Months go by and I stood on that hour discipline (sometimes just not everyday). I stopped eating junk food – never more was I going to buy groceries on an empty stomach! I always have a list of what I need but I also understand that I can have “a few of my favourite things” – it’s all about discipline and, basically, really wanting something.

I hope the neighbor below me doesn’t mind the treadmill sound but I can present myself now as a very happy person, who has started to meditate as well (I’ve always thought that was the most useless practice…) and writing about fighting what is keeping you down. I shed my extra kilos and I’m back in my bright clothing.


Exercising and moving around is one of the most important things you can do if you’re down in the dumps.

It is extra hard to start doing it at that time but if you gain momentum, nothing will stop you – you’ll feel happier due to the hormone release, you will eat healthier because grease will start feeling bad and heavy on your stomach, you’ll feel YOURSELF when you pick up your clothes that still fit.

When the mind isn’t ok, nothing else will be. Get yourself up and change your environment.

About author:
janegrates1Jane Grates, a Danish writer and runner is learning how to live happy with her family by sharing experiences and moments.
Jane also manages the websites, and


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