How I trick myself into exercising with depression

exercising to battle depression

By Adam C.

Mental and physical health stories | How I motivate myself to walk for exercise

There have been many times in my life where I have found it extremely difficult to get out of bed, let alone find any motivation to exercise.  Not even being an elite member of the Naval Special Operations community has been able to completely insulate me from my depression.  In fact, it has made it much worse in some aspects. 

Today I am going to discuss something I learned last year that helped to motivate me beyond my depression and help pull me out from under those dark clouds.   I hope you can somehow make this strategy your own and have success with it like I have.

Benefits of walking as exercise for mental health

As I have grown older and wiser I have realized the benefits of walking for exercise are more beneficial to my mental and physical health.  I have been a runner, and a weightlifter and believe it or not I have had more success losing weight with walking than with any other type of workout and provides the least amount of stress and chance of injuring yourself.

Believe it or not, walking has been the best way for me to lose weight.  So far I have lost 30 lbs without putting myself through the ringer like I use to do.                                

Walking to battle depression.

When out for walks you get to enjoy many things you don’t get to while doing other forms of exercise.  Here are a few things I really enjoy doing while on walks to help me feel better.

  • Enjoy the smell of fresh flowers.

  • Take pictures of plants and buildings.

  • Listen to all the birds chirping.

  • Soak up that much-needed Vitamin D to help fight depression.

  • Breath in the fresh air and clear out the cobwebs of the mind.

  • Reflect and brainstorm to come up with new ideas on how to continue walking.

  • Explore new areas.

  • Walk through the woods.

  • Dumpster diving.

  • Trash picking.

  • Looking at houses.

  • Listen to podcasts and videos

  • Coming up with new ideas.

  • Talk to friends and family on the phone.

Find something that motivates you to go for a walk

Any new positive habit can be extremely difficult to start up when you are in the depths of depression.   I personally am so destructive that sometimes I would just sleep all day.   So how do you find the motivation to get out of bed and go for a walk when you are like that?    You need to do some soul searching and figure out the things that truly motivate you.   I am going to use my tactics just as an example.   I am very motivated by money.

My trick to exercise

The first thing I needed to do was understand the types of things that actually motivate me.   Growing up, my parents never taught me to value myself or relationships.  The one thing that I was taught to value was money.   I am a treasure hunter at heart, and I love exploring and searching for stuff.   It could be rocks, money, agates, fossils, edible plants, cool photo opportunities, a new location or any other things I feeling like searching for.   It is interesting how far I had to go back in my memory to figure out that it is a major part of my life, and without it, I would have probably committed suicide a long time ago.

Reflecting on my childhood

 For me money has a deep connection.  We are taught that money is important at an early age. This was sitting on the table at my nieces house as I am editing this article.

For me money has a deep connection.

We are taught that money is important at an early age. This was sitting on the table at my nieces house as I am editing this article.

Unfortunately, my parents never taught me to value myself or relationships.  The one thing that I was taught to value was money.

When I was a little I used to sneak down in the basement and look for money around the washing machine .  Mom would put all the spare change she found in pockets on top of the dryer, and drop change on the floor.

 I would get so excited when I found pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.  That memory has influenced me throughout my entire life. I love going out and finding things of monetary value.

Money is my fitness motivator.  What is yours?

For me, money is an amazing motivator, and I am assuming it is for most people since those things called jobs exist.   

When I first started walking I was just getting into dumpster diving, and selling at my local flea market and selling online.   

Speaking of selling online.  Did you know I have sold over $300,000.00 in items from garage sales and thrift stores?   That is a post for another day, but if you are interested in hearing about it leave me a comment!

 I found this dime while out walking as I was dictating this article. You never know what you are going to find, or what new thoughts feelings you may discover.

I found this dime while out walking as I was dictating this article. You never know what you are going to find, or what new thoughts feelings you may discover.

Other things that keep motivating me to go out and go for walks.

Things to consider

We are constantly bombarded by marketing campaigns that want us to sign up for a gym membership, personal trainers and purchase expensive supplements that may or may not do anything.

  • The fitness industry is a billion dollar industry, and they want you to be confused about exercise. Walking is something that you can do anywhere at any time, and it is free.

  • DON'T get on a scale. Nothing positive will come of it. The human weight body fluctuates on a daily basis, and it will drive you crazy.

  • Judge your progress based of how you feel, not how you look

  • Don't over do it. Injuries are all to easy, and will set you back.

  • Find a buddy who likes to go for walks as well. Good conversation is always helpful when you are depressed.

 

 

 

 

 

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