Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stress Relief

I've heard that exercise is good for stress relief. It makes sense that lifting weights can help you get out your aggression, nervousness, anger, or frustration. Something about working those muscles as hard and fast as you can just eases the adrenaline surplus and ups the endorphins. Running can do the same thing, or biking hard, or beating the living daylights out of an old toilet with a baseball bat.

OK, maybe too much information there.

But anyway, the point is that exercise is good for your mental health. It can make you feel better.

See? All these happy people are exercising!

But what I didn't know until today was the emotional benefit of helping other people exercise. I learned this today in my weightlifting session with J2. Early in our session J2 shared with me that he was somewhat preoccupied with a thorny personal issue which, I had to admit after his description, would give any man pause. Maybe even rewind (rimshot!). Anyway, I certainly commiserated with him and hoped things worked out favorably for him.

Then, about forty-five minutes into the workout, I happened to look at the clock and noticed that only 25 minutes had gone by. Something was wrong with the clocks at the gym. Making a mental note to mention this to J, I pushed on forward through the haze of fatigue rapidly building up around me.

After another 25 minutes or so, I looked up and found that only another 10 minutes had registered on the clock. I started to feel a little panicky. I began looking at my own watch after every set. Time was slowing down. It had to be that the hour was up. And yet, J2 just kept going, room to room, adding some weight to each machine, oblivious to the time warp that had enveloped the building.

Finally when my watch actually said 45 minutes had elapsed, and I was lying in a pool of my own sweat on the prone leg curl, refusing to move, J2 said, "Oh, I'm sorry! Am I taking out some of my frustration on you today?"

Just a little, there, J2. Just a little.

But it's OK. It was a hard morning, but I felt better about it all two hours later, when my doctor told me I'd dropped 14 lbs since November.

I hope J2 has some good news coming, too.


  1. Hi,

    I am a Sports Science student and i was wondering if i could use your photo of the smiling man in the gym for my assignment. It will not be shown to any other party other than myself and the inidividual who will be marking my work.

    Many Thanks
    Hayley Donovan