Yesterday, I saw a new client.
She has been going through great personal challenges since her husband has severe degenerative brain disease. He got to the point where he did not recognize her face any longer.
She has been doing a great job dealing with all the ramifications of his illness. Now she realizes it’s time to take better care of herself.
But she had put increasing restrictions on herself. There is a beautiful trail next to her home but she has been afraid to go for a walk there in case she trips over a root on the path.
Over the past year, my client has fought depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis.
No matter what our outer circumstances, there are always things we can do for ourselves to feel better.
Everything this dear later was fighting could be greatly alleviated by exercising regularly. Maybe not eliminated completely with exercise, but certainly she has the power to turn down the dial on her own pain and suffering.
When we go through great stress, one natural reaction is to stop moving.
But emotion is energy in motion. The more we put our energy into intelligent motion, the quicker we will find ourselves feeling better.
I recommended for her walking, gentle yoga, tai chi and qi gong as well as balance training. I have helped many older women restore their confidence to be able to walk easily once again by doing exercise specifically to stabilize their vestibular system. I set up a simple, safe obstacle course, and I have my client walk through it, first on their own, then carrying their purse, then carrying a shopping bag just like they would in real life.
I explained to her that exercise alone has been scientifically proven to be more effective for depression than antidepressants, long-term, and even more effective than exercise and antidepressants. Yoga breathing lowers blood pressure. Uncontrolled stress does more to break down your bones than almost anything, and exercise has been proven – yes, this is true – to reverse the effects of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
I have cried through many a walk in the woods but always came out better for it.