Search This Blog

Try to Push-up Towards Better Mental Health - When Exercising is about the MIND!

how workouts help train mind
This isn’t just another article about positive thinking. This discussion is essentially a condensed narrative of how I have struggled, fought, and also won on some occasions, small battles en route to trying to create a better lifestyle, especially something that can help me improve my mental health. You might think that push-ups are meant for pectoral gains only. Believe me, the connection between push-ups and mental health is very real, easy to understand, and can be pursued by anyone who is above 15 years of age…the image captures the essence of a push-up regimen. What seems like a long flight of empty stairs can be the challenge of a lifetime for someone chasing cardio gains. All of a sudden the dead, cold steel and concrete seem to have all the weapons to break your resolve. But, you must persist...!

What to Expect? It is hard to get used to. You need to "push" yourself towards imbibing any new habit. This is not easy when you have to get down on all fours. All of a sudden what seemed like lame ground of the room becomes a challenge. This is about a change in your everyday living patterns. The "push" in push-ups is more about pushing yourself even when the next rep seems impossible or you feel there is no room, not even a minute to complete a set.

Midjourney Image man tries push up
Push-ups work like every other hardcore cardio exercise in terms of taking a toll on the entire body and helping you sweat away the negativity and help you focus on only one thing, i.e. the soreness, and the seemingly impossibility of eeking out one more perfect repetition. It might seem easy when you see so many fitness enthusiasts and people with varying degrees of health conditions and mobility issues managing to stay true to their daily push-up schedule but staying loyal to them, following the correct form, and ensuring effective intensity is difficult over a period. Just consider this - people who have been doing push-ups for years are as likely to put in a few days of gap simply because doing vertically straight exercises seems a bit easier. When you are feeling low and the energy reserves seem scanty, getting on with push-ups is entirely a mental challenge. You overcome the physical toughness of it in about a month and the stress along the forearms and the upper back surface only when you increase your set count or try different grips and variations of the classical push-up. 

Midjourney illustration man does push up
I took the approach of using my Push-up time as an additional means to establish a more constructive mindset. Yes, it has all the ingredients I think are necessary for success = grind, grit, sweat, redemption, and that feeling of accomplishment! But largely, I have realized that push-ups contribute to keeping up a better psychological state irrespective of how rushed or anxious you are. Even when you seem to have no time to spare, even when you are traveling, or the hotel room seems tiny, you can always find about 8 feet of real estate to try them. Instantly, you cannot focus on the worries and the problems that have been plaguing your mind - push-ups tend to dissect you away from the mental battles immediately, almost at par with your favorite movie flashing on Netflix - it is indeed that instantly curative!

Animated ai midjourney image lady does push up
Getting started: the first few days can be brutal. Even if there are no psychological triggers, the old habit of looking at things cynically finds ways of emerging most unexpectedly. Doing Push-ups in the right way has similar challenges. After the first few sets, your triceps hurt, sweat drips down your forehead and you feel a stretch along your neck. Just when it seems you have done enough reps, talk to yourself – you need to do one more set of at least 15 reps!
Regularity: ask any regular gym-going person and one common wisdom you can expect from them is – you gotta do Push-ups every day to get the real benefits. Positive thinking is very similar. You need to practice it every day. Once-a-week efforts just aren’t sufficient for becoming optimist or muscular.

Midjourney Lady doing push up
Raising the intensity
: once you try to hang on to positive thoughts, you will realize that there are so many opportunities throughout the day that test your resolve. Nearly every interaction or situation can be handled with a positive or negative way of thinking. You have to raise the intensity. Call upon your inner resolve to take upon harder, more testing situations and still stay optimistic. It is only when you up the overall intensity level, that the actual mental health benefits of doing 
push-ups surface more regularly. If you had a breakdown at the office or if an argument with Dad turned too ugly, try a new grip, a slightly changed stance tonight when trying push-ups in your bedroom and it hits you, taking away the attention from all the ghastliness that transpired during the day. When you need to show up in an ultra-aggressive mode at the office, sure that arguments will take hours to resolve, add some push-ups along with caffeine during your early morning routine and you will find that this one, bodyweight exercise complements your state of mind.

Man fails tries again push ups in black and white

Doing Push-ups can help control, and train the mind

The ideal posture where your arms should be bent in the start-up position and pushed down to your chest level can be very demanding. Different Push-ups postures like close grips for triceps, wider grip for pectorals, Spiderman Push-ups, Diamond Push-ups, and the one-handed variety can take their toll on your energy. You must cultivate the habit of boosting yourself mentally and finding a reason for one more set! Lately, I realized that when some feelings start rushing back for no expected reason, like the schoolgoing days and that feeling of having missed out while all the school buddies still managed to remain in touch, a few reps on the floor can help you react better, better still, not react...

In a follow-up to this discussion, I will discuss more personal experiences about how exercising can be therapeutic for the mind too…plz feel free to share your story

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts...

Mental Health Battles, Confessions

Opinions About Everything