Working Out & Mental Health - Justin Lioi, LCSW - Brooklyn, NY

Before the blizzard/non-blizzard I had planned to write a post today about exercise and how it can be helpful to mental health. It seems somewhat strange to do it now, but, also, it can be a good reminder to find someway, somehow to do something physical every day–even on ones where the snow feels like little knives attacking your face.

Even when you’re stranded in your home.

I’ve been writing about morning rituals and how important they can be to your emotional health and I want to make sure I mention that getting physical is an important part of that. Your morning exercise could be a run around the track, a visit to the gym, a good, vigorous walk with your dog through the park (my personal favorite) or a few pushups or situps at home. I’ll even do the 7-minute workout if I don’t have a lot of time and can’t get anywhere.

The point is, get moving.

I have had such an aversion to exercise in the past that it would seem that during an hour that I planned to go to the gym I’d suddenly be struck with a strong need to read that book I’ve been putting off. I would argue that exercise was getting in the way of growing my intelligence. I’d begin to resent exercise and anyone who told me to do it. Where was that strong urge to read Don Quixote 30 minutes ago when I was watching Westworld for the third time? I don’t know, but it’s here now. And between downloading movies on Netflix and listening to podcasts there’s barely a good reason to not get in 20 minutes on the treadmill.

As you are creating a good morning routine for yourself see where exercise fits in best for you. It gets you out of the story that you may be obsessing over which makes it a great outlet for anxiety. It releases hormones that are helpful when you’re stuck in a depression. Combining it with some journaling and meditating means that you’re not forgetting how all these different aspects of yourself are combined.

Let me know how it’s working in the comments below!

Justin Lioi, LCSW is a men’s mental health and relationship expert. He is a Brooklyn therapist (as well as also seeing clients online throughout New York State and internationally.) He received his degree from New York University and has been working with men and their families for over 10 years. Justin is on the Board of the National Association of Social Workers and writes a weekly column for the Good Men Project called Unmasking Masculinity. He can be found on local and national podcasts talking about assertiveness, anger, self-compassion, all with the goal of becoming the man you want to be.