Thank Goodness for Endorphins

Last weekend I was in a funk. A real blue mood. It felt like seasonal affective disorder. Among other things I was sad and mad that my beloved Vanderbilt Commodores’ football coach left for Penn State, poaching recruiting commitments along his merry way. But that alone should (I loathe that word) not have caused me the malaise I was feeling. And then it hit me.

I had not worked out that week.

“What” you ask? A self-described gym rat who’s spending the first quarter of 2014 in a conditioning phase didn’t make it to the gym?

That’s right. Last Monday, Nashville along with much of the nation was experiencing a Polar Vortex. Or was it an Arctic Vortex? I’ve already forgotten. But on Monday and Tuesday my gym understandably did not open as early as it normally does. Things were back on schedule by Wednesday, but ice remained on the street I live on and I didn’t want to navigate that before sunrise. Thursday and Friday found me telling myself, “you’ve already blown off this week, just sleep in two more mornings.”

And so on Saturday I awoke to the affore-mentioned funk. I had loads of studying to do for a class I’m taking and my house was a wreck. I also needed to obsessively check my Twitter feed for news about the Vanderbilt Football situation. So I stayed home from the gym to study, clean house and obsessively check Twitter.

That night hubs was going out with some of the guys to celebrate a birthday. I decided to take my funkified self to the gym. I did about 40 minutes of high intensity cardio followed by weightlifting.

Guess what? I felt fantastic afterward. The next morning I snuck into a spin class before church. Again, I felt great afterward and practically floated through the day.

So often I think of exercise as a means to get ready for an upcoming triathlon or half marathon. That week away from the gym reminded me that exercise is also an important component to good mental and emotional health. It perks me up and calms me down, all at the same time.

I hope our next Vortex is a long way off. I don’t need another lesson about skipping workouts.

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