I have written several posts in the past about exercising.  For me personally, that has included walking, hiking, running, mountain biking, and resistance training.  Despite the obvious physical health benefits, people have an on/off relationship with exercise.  Thankfully, my relationship has been more on than off and I am appreciative of that now during this pandemic and feel it puts me in a better position to deal with any added stress.

Which brings me to the mental benefits of exercise.  I’m not a medical professional nor have I done any sort of research on this subject so these are just my own opinions and observations of others.  And common sense.

Working Out To Work It Out

I’ve been part of a Facebook group for several years called the 1000 Mile Challenge.  Each year the participants, or “challengers” as we are called, set a goal to walk/run/hike 1000 miles or more and in whatever manner we choose – intentional mile or by steps.  I chose intentional miles, meaning I set out to walk or run some distance and record that number.  I haven’t hit the 1000 miles yet despite coming so close at 970 but I enjoy the accountability and camaraderie amongst the challengers. 

one of many ponds along a walking trail

The challengers come from all walks of life, all ages, some in obvious excellent shape (5K, 10K, half marathons, etc.) and some who are struggling to walk a mile or two each day.  There have been births, deaths, weight gain, weight loss, marriages, divorces, and other everyday life experiences one would expect from a large group of diverse people.  Much like life.

One challenger who had been struggling with some personal issues used to start her posts with the comment “working out to work it out” then let us know how many treadmill miles she got or time/miles on an elliptical machine. It brought her to a better place. That resonated with me and it mirrors my own thoughts on how exercise brings me to a better place mentally.

Common Ground

We have challengers in our group from all over the United States and the one common bond we have involves feet on the ground (or treadmill… which still sits on the ground so work with me here) – walking, hiking, or running. 

I would bet money that we have people with far-left beliefs, far-right beliefs, atheists, Christians, educated, not so educated, taco lovers, taco haters (it could happen), and so on.   To be honest, I haven’t given it much thought and based on posts within the group over the years, I don’t think anyone else has either. We tend to set our differences aside and focus on what we have in common and the end goal.  With that mindset we continually move forward and help each other.  It’s mentally therapeutic and refreshing.

We work it out.