• Kristina Cherep

Working Out My Anxiety... Literally

My husband and I are more than halfway done with our 50 day workout plan. There are many reasons why we have decided to workout together. The one reason we tell other people is that we have to get our bodies looking good for when we go to Cancun... which is true, but it's not the only reason.

We workout to help with my anxiety. I have been off of my medication for a month and a half now and have decided to use working out as my new medication. It has been working so well! I remember when I was having my anxiety episode in the fall and people would tell me how working out would make me feel better. At that time, working out seemed so out of my reach because I was having a hard time with just walking and talking. I was aware that working out could help with anxiety, but I knew I needed to take other steps before I got to the point of being able to go to the gym again.

So, towards the end of my outpatient program I began to start exercising. Working out for me at that time was walking. Yes, I was a Division I athlete and I used walking as my workout. However, being able to walk a long distance on my own at that time was a big deal. Fast forward six months later and I am squatting 140 lbs, biking five plus miles, holding a one-armed plank for 2 minutes and much more!

Another indirect reason why my husband and I workout together is because it helps improve our own relationship. It's time we spend together being productive and healthy. We get to see each other grow and improve physically. A tip I have for you is to find exercises that you thrive in and exercises your partner thrives in as well. Do those exercises together!

My husband and I do two 'leg days', two 'arm days', and one 'cardio day' a week, which totals to five days a week. We both have our strengths and weaknesses. For example if you are not aware, I had a career ending injury that has left me with a numb left arm for the rest of my life. So, arm day is definitely not my strongest day. However, I can do a killer one-armed plank (if I do say so myself). I don't let my injury stop me from working out my upper body. I set limits and restrictions for myself.

On a side note, a few weeks ago, during arm day, my elbow dislocated during an arm exercise I have been doing for two months. I used the right form, but I forgot about my restrictions in the moment and I tried to lift too much weight. Luckily, this was nothing new to me because my elbow has dislocated before and my old physical therapist taught me how to pop it back in. It was still very painful.

I had to take a week off of working out and saw how my anxiety started to spike back up. Right when I was in the clear to workout again I was back in the gym. This week off was tough, but also showed me how much my anxiety needs the exercise. Not only is the exercise great for my anxiety, but it's putting me in the best shape I've ever been in. If it weren't for my anxiety, I probably would be finding excuses not to workout. So, there's a positive about having anxiety! It's my motivation.

Working out can help with your anxiety. However, it's not a cure to your anxiety. I suggest working out with someone who motivates you to push yourself, but also someone who understands your limits. Whether your limits at the time are walking half of a mile or squatting 140 pounds... do it! Working out has truly made a difference in my relationship and also in my anxiety.

I've found working out to be a great medication for my anxiety. However, it's not for everyone! Find something that helps to stabilize your anxiety daily.

P.S. Doing Indo Board squats are a ______!