Exercise your way to mental fitness

Kate Hull-Rodgers
Kate Hull-Rodgers

Today (Thursday) marks World Mental Health Day and it is a good day for me to tell you about the most important step I took after being extremely mentally ill, writes Kate Hull-Rodgers.

I remember when I was finally released from the long term psychiatric hospital, I was a mess.

I was so out of shape, I figured that on my ‘recovery journey’ exercise was going to be central.

I knew that exercise was good for my physical health, but I was surprised how much positive impact it made.

What was good for my body turned out to also be very good for my mind.

At first I walked, then I walked faster, then I walked further and then I seized opportunities to ‘up’ my walking by parking the car further from the grocery store and taking the stairs more.

It was immediate that I began to feel the psychological benefits.

By walking I was releasing positive chemicals into my body, endorphins, serotonin, the lot and I felt a calm descend over me.

READ MORE: Town nature walks can help boost your mental health.

Eventually, it was time to try an exercise class, which I was reluctant to do, but I figured I wasn’t in good enough shape.

I almost talked myself out of it, but finally I signed up and lo and behold, the class wasn’t too hard as I was able to work at my own pace.

It never occurred to me that I could ‘create’ my own fitness class where I was in control and it was brilliant.

I knew that to release those magic feel-good chemicals, I needed to do some cardio-vascular exercise.

I needed to get my breathing up so I discovered the treadmill.

I could power walk on this beast of a machine and I began to notice my road walking, outside of the gym, became brisker.

I was bringing some of the treadmill attitude to my every day walking.

Exercise became a habit, a ritual, a not to be missed event.

All I had to do was just a little bit more.

All these years later and I have stuck to it and become as fit as a fiddle.

SEE ALSO: It's the little things in life that bring you joy.

I now do a 30-minute yoga session with YouTube videos.

I do this in my conservatory which I have renamed the ‘slym gym’.

Every day I either go to the gym, or I walk a couple of miles.

Sometimes I even ride the exercise bike – you know the one in the corner.

It is part washing line, always hung with laundry and it lives in the back room.

But I still use it.

I think the Nike slogan ‘just do it’ is brilliant .

My slogan is equally as good – ‘just do it more’.

Kate Hull-Rodgers is a speaker, author, media presenter, seminar leader , coach and international leading authority on the strategic use of humour in the workplace.