I don’t exercise for my mental health. I’m only able to exercise because I take care of my mental health. But I do find that exercising is great for practicing skills I can apply with mental health. Right now at the gym I go to we’re doing an Assault Bike tournament–first to 30 calories, best of 5. When I’m at 14 calories, my brain is like: “You need to stop. You feel bad. You should stop or this will get worse. You can’t do this anymore. This hurts so much. Just slow down!” Of course, this is the same thing that happens when you’re working on recovery from mental illness and you’re cutting out compulsions. It hurts and you sweat and your brain makes very convincing, totally rational arguments for why you should stop or why you should keep engaging in a compulsion and not stop. So going to the gym is a great place to practice not listening to my brain and learning to understand how my body actually works, not how I think it works. Sometimes I need to push forward my brain tells me to stop. Other times I need to stop when my brain is telling me to keep going.


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