Exercise is the Most Underutilized Anti-Depressant

Leslie Sansone, Walk at Home
Leslie Sansone

I started walking this past June on a regular basis in an attempt to fix my insides. I learned that prolonged periods of inactivity, lack of appetite, and anxiety were basically killing me.  I could feel it but I didn’t know how to reverse it.  Veterans Affairs informed me that not only was my cholesterol high but I was at risk of diabetes if I didn’t change things. They referred me to a nutritionist who helped point me in the right direction.

Everyone says you need a lifestyle change but this is very difficult to accomplish when you are fighting off complex PTSD. I think after awhile I just stopped caring about me anymore. I had to change that mindset and start caring about me again. I took the professional’s advice and started implementing one good habit at a time.

I live in a place where winters can get long so I had to find activities inside that helped me stay active. We bought seasons passes to the local ski area which helps us get outside but as time went on I realized that I needed more. This is when I found Leslie Sansone. I absolutely love her. I started out with a easy program that provided 20-30 minute workouts and over time have moved up to the 4 Fast Miles (50 minutes).

Just recently I took Leslie’s 10 Day Challenge with 4 Fast Miles because I have reached a plateau in my weight loss and in the process I learned so much more about myself. I was active but I wasn’t exercising every day for long periods of time until this 10 Day Challenge. And now I know why she suggests we try it. Exercising every day gives you more energy and a new attitude.

I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress. Oftentimes I will wake up feeling panicked because of nightmares. I have to spend upwards of two hours in the morning calming myself down with breathing and some form of meditation. Recently, I decided to start exercising in the morning. As a result, I learned that the exercise can actually pull me out of the state of mind that I woke up in.

I also began to notice almost immediately that I had more energy during the day. This was significant because the PTSD came with a major depression that I have been fighting off for years. When I get depressed I just want to snuggle under my blanket on my couch in an attempt to feel safe. It was very noticeable to me after two to three days that I started feeling less depressed and more energetic because I was exercising in the morning.

Finally, I am falling asleep easier now.  Falling asleep was my biggest interruption to sleep. It was routine for me to stay up until three in the morning. I am falling asleep between 9 pm and 11 pm now and getting in the full eight hours of sleep recommended. Although I may still wake up feeling panicked from the nightmares, I am getting up earlier and able to get more accomplished during the day. I look forward to my day as opposed to dreading it.

And this is because the exercise helps me shake off the body memories from the nightmares that I experienced the night before. It gives me the ability to start my day off right instead of being owned by the PTSD. Now I choose to exercise to help me cope with the PTSD in addition to taking care of my body, inside and out. I never imagined that exercise, particularly working out with Leslie Sansone, would be the best anti-depressant on the market.

Exercise is the most underutilized anti-depressant and this statement inspired me to write about my experience today. It’s helping me lower my cholesterol, prevent diabetes, keep pain from old injuries at bay, increase energy, tone muscles, and help feel less depressed, anxious, and triggered. I would rather workout for 20-50 minutes a day then pick up a cigarette or feel depressed any day.

Thank you Leslie for providing us with a work out that is so effective, easy to follow, and appropriate given where we are in our journey. I also really appreciate how upbeat, positive, and educational she is. I have learned so much from simply listening to her during the workouts. She makes you feel good about taking care of yourself which in turn builds your confidence.

FMI: Leslie Sansone, Walk at Home

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