Exercise and Depression | Martial Arts And Fitness Training

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How Martial Arts and Fitness Training helped my depression


If you have been following me for a while you would have likely read about my state of depression, how I attempted suicide and what triggered it. What I have not told you is one of the things that help brought me out of that state of mind and into the confident, self assured woman I am today.

Many people have no idea that a person like me could possible have been depressed to the point of trying to take my own life. Many people ask "What could possibly make you depressed, you are beautiful!", and I have actually have people ask me that. In answer to that, I have to say that outward beauty has nothing to do with being depressed, but how you feel about your self inwardly has much to do with it.

Keep reading to better understand what depression does to you no matter how physically beautiful you are.

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Here is a list of things that depression does to someone

  • Gradually break down ego. Overtime that pride you have in yourself will gradually start to chip away. You will start to feel like you have failed. You can't see your own accomplishments and you become so nervous completing a task that you end up doing all badly, and so you end up feeling worse.
  • A dip in the old self esteem. Imagine self esteem on a scale of 100 - 1. You are quite healthy at 100 and depression starts to set in and it starts dropping. First it's 99, than 95. It might shoot back up to 98, then take another dive to 90, very much like your hubscores. Now imagine your self esteem at 100 then imagine what would happen when it plunges to 1. Self esteem that low needs major work and usually when it nears or reaches that point the person will contemplate suicide.
  • Your sense of self love. How you feel about yourself is very important in your survival in life. People sense things and hating yourself can lead to depression and depression can lead to hating yourself. When you are depressed and the self hate or self loathing starts, most cases it is triggered by an event like rape, abuse, incest, financial collapse, business failure, academic failure. Being obese is never the reason, there is always a deeper issue there, but after gaining the weight, the person will feel ugly and try to starve themselves or eat themselves to death.
  • Your confidence also take that dive. Much like the self esteem (how you see yourself), self confidence (how you portray yourself to others) is rated on a similar scale because they usually walk hand in hand.

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martial arts
martial arts
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weights training
aerobics
aerobics

My Martial arts And Fitness Training

I have always been an athlete and a dancer and in 2000 I began doing self defense which I loved very much. I left my job to pursue another career in the hospitality industry but found it very hard to continue training. When I became self employed in 2004 I started attending the gym again. I went back to working in the fitness industry January 2006.

I renewed my Self Defense Instructor/Personal Trainer Certification and started both training and teaching again. The upside to any kind of physical fitness is that exercise releases endorphins and other crucial hormones that puts you on a high. So teaching any kind of fitness was boosting my esteem because I would exercise with my client or my class.


Weights training

My least favorite type of exercise but in most cases I get to show off because most of my clients were unfit and I was a sucker for punishment. Some of the "mental health" benefits of weights training are:

  • determination, especially good for depressed people who like to give up
  • discipline to keep getting fit because it makes you look and feel good about yourself
  • compliments from others, especially those less fit. Will boost your ego.
  • knowing your are fitter and getting healthier will definitely boost your confidence and self worth
  • your self worth is also increased when a client you have trained tell you how good they feel or when they lose weight. You are the one that feels accomplished.


Aerobics

My second favorite type of exercise. I get to do dance-like moves and I definitely feel in control especially when I am the last one left standing. The mental health benefits of aerobics are:

  • Similar to weights with the added physical endurance which automatically stimulates mental endurance
  • A dose of self confidence doesn't hurt
  • A definite change in your social interactions. Now you want to be around people because they make you feel special for helping them lose weight or increase their cardiovascular health
  • the people you train makes you feel invincible when you outlast them in an aerobics class and they tell you how they like your class afterward.


Martial Arts

People are always in awe of other people who are good at martial arts so when a new student watches you train, standing at the door of a class, you push yourself harder to make a good impression. I don't know anyone in martial arts who doesn't do that. Another reason is the honor of your school. A martial art student honors their instructor and their school so people watching a class will generate a tougher looking class because you don't want people leaving with the wrong impression. Every true martial art student will "sell" their school and the philosophy of martial arts and self defense because that's what drives their honor and beliefs.

Martial arts is not a high paying position but most people who learn it want to teach it especially the art of self defense. I will be doing another hub on self defense since I'm on a roll here. The mental health benefits of martial art training are:

  • knowing you are equipped to defense yourself in any situation and that in itself is confidence.
  • definite self discipline
  • motivation
  • mental balance and stimulation
  • increases focus - a part of training is learning to focus
  • improves stature which improves your confidence
  • mental calmness and clarity


Exercise does improve brain power and eventually my cognitive skills returned. I began doing my job exceptionally well and went on to producing more coursework and teaching. Gradually I felt better about life and myself. My self worth greatly improved and people could sense my confidence again.

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Comments 31 comments

musclequest profile image

musclequest 4 years ago from Johannesburg,South Africa

Nice hub...healthy body,healthy mind


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Musclequest. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Happy holidays!


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 4 years ago from Texas

Such an inspiring story of your victory over depression. This hub will help others who have suffered from depression. Thank you for sharing.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

Excellent article; excellent advice for those suffering with depression. I too have experienced how physical fitness and activity can lift my spirits.


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 4 years ago from Texas

Such an informative article regarding depression and ways to overcome it. Others should read to gather insights. Thank you for sharing.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hello Augustine. I want to thank you for your wonderful comment.

I hope others who are depressed will be motivated to do something. I know it's very hard to get up and do anything when you are depressed but just walking, riding or swimming is a good start.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Ktrapp, the weirdest thing of all is that depression shuts down that part of the brain that want to do anything good for yourself. You don't want to get out of bed. But when you do get out of bed and go for some fresh air you are so revived, it's amazing what that little walk can do.

Thanks for stopping by.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Great self-help story to recovery through training, Cardisa. Hugs, Debby


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thanks Debby. It was the most valuable recovery assistance I got.

XXX


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

Regarding depression - I have had my share of just staring at the wall all day.

Regarding aerobic exercise. I have often said that I am happiest when singing. Now, if you are singing a ballad quietly into a microphone, that takes very little effort. But to sing (not yell) without amplification and be heard at the back of the auditorium is indeed strenuous aerobic exercise. You have to use muscles that non-singers never use.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Flora, singing like that does strengthen abdominal muscles and give a flatter tummy.


carol3san profile image

carol3san 4 years ago from Hollywood Florida

Hi Cardisa, thanks for this hub. I never knew that martial arts can lift depression. I knew about the aerobic exercises because I do water aerobics 3 times a week. When I finish I feel like a million bucks. It is truly Exhilarating. Voted up and useful.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Carol. Martial arts also improves cardio health, increases focus and endurance. It help me lose the few pounds I gained prior to restarting my training.

Happy holidays!


Sky9106 profile image

Sky9106 4 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

That means there is not too much to worry about any more in the lines of , youtr other skills , no bodyguard needed for the moment . Cardisa I love stories , because I know the feel I would like to say I am looking forward to whatever is coming around the bend , but I will stop at saying there is nothing in this life that' scares me other than my own self.

I have been through and done things , that have now prepared me for anything. That's why when someone have successfully beaten that which usually destroys others . I feel great .

It's good to know what you are working with.Keep up the great work you will see the super benefits later. Trust me , I know!

Bless.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Sky. Thank you for your usual wonderful comment. I have beaten depression and I do hope that my stories will help someone to do the same.

Thanks!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Wonderful story Cardisa. I believe exercise is a cure for many problems. Thank you for sharing your story. I've always been an avid treadmill advocate. I lift hand weights with each step. Since i've started to write on hubpages, iv'e not been as faithful, but i am going to get back to my daily routine..Best Wishes..


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Ruby. I love HP to death but I do realize that I tend to neglect everything else! I too haven't trained in a while. Even my friends complain that I have neglected them.


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 4 years ago from Miami, US

I'm glad you found something that lifted you out of your depression. Being at the bottom is often the most important tool that many people use to lift themselves up to the top. I also love martial arts and aerobics, they are much more fun than any other type of exercise, in my opinion.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Stephanie.

My favorite type of exercises are martial arts and aerobics too. I found them uplifting and they energized me. I was at the bottom for a long time, I couldn't see the good in life. I felt like a failure all the time, but the exercise help me retain my self confidence and self worth.

Thank you for stopping by.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Cardisa, Thought i would come back to tell you that i just got off the treadmill and i feel really energized. I made myself a promise that i will do it daily..Thank's again for the reminder. Nothing is as important as taking care of your body...Cheers


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Ruby that's great! I am proud of you and we must take care of our bodies. We feel more confident when we look good so in all counts exercise is good for mind, body and spirit.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

Cardisa I don't know how many times I have used exercise to pull myself up and I think fresh air exercise is best when you can get it. I had miss the sad news about you, but I am certainly glad you overcame. My doctor asked me once if I had ever thought about suicide and I was honest and said, "Hasn't everyone?" I am sorry you took it farther than thinking but I am sure you are now way past that. You have many friends who care about you very much.


carolinemd21 profile image

carolinemd21 4 years ago from Close to Heaven

Love this hub Cardisa! Exercise always improves my mood and focus. Thank you for sharing your experiences.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Polly, I am so glad that you are here more regularly now. I missed you kind words of encouragement. Thank you.

I am way past that now and I feel so sad when someone else is going through it that I feel I must do something. Thanks again and I am glad too, that you are no longer bound by depression.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thank you Caroline. Exercise releases endorphins and other chemicals that improves the mood drastically. Continued exercise will eventually lift you out of the doldrums permanently.

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

Sorry I have just been so super busy trying to make a living, lol. When I first came here I was in some real depression and so many people helped me here get through it. I will never forget them, Nell and James being at the top of the list, never questioning me and always encouraging me. So...I will do my best to check in with you more often!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Polly, it's not just you checking in my hubs. I miss your poems and songs, that's what I mean. I would really like to read more of your beautiful songs and poems. They have a calming effect.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

....well I am proud of you dear friend to have come through what you did and then be able to turn your life around - literally - and try something new - you are my hero Carolee - plain and simple - I admire you for your honesty, integrity and conviction to being true to yourself and walking the walk and talking the talk - you go girl ----- lake erie time 5:40pm


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thank you my handsome bombastic Canadian hunk! It really was a high point for me to have been able to rise from the depths that I was.

Love and hugs ~~~


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

the hard part is getting the motivation to exercise when you're depressed. How do you get that motivation especially if you hate to exercise anyway! I'm thankful you were able to turn your life around. Inspiring hub.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hey Vicki, in my case I had to because it was a part of my work. I guess the person who has to go to the gym would need someone to train with who can help motivate them. Thanks!

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