Until recently I've been completely dismissing the link between exercise and mental health. That was before I climbed a mountain for the first time in 7 years. Then climbed another one the following week. Now I'm planning to climb another one this week (by the time this post goes up, I'll have climbed mountains 3 weeks in a row!).
I can't be sure at this stage if the exercise is helping my mental health, or vice versa. I am leaning towards it being the other way round though.
Over the last couple of years, I've gained about 2 stone in weight. It's been bothering me, but at no stage have I made any serious effort to lose it again. Instead I've watched the stretch marks creep along the skin on my thighs and hips, all the while thinking "I should really do something about this".
It's only now that I'm starting to feel better mentally, that I feel capable of doing anything to achieve my goal of squeezing back into my size 12 jeans. I want nothing more than to condemn my size 16 jeans and leggings to the charity shop...well, that and to change the world!
If you'd told me 6 months ago that I'd start pushing myself to my absolute limit, climbing mountains, walking until my lungs forget how to function...well, I'd probably have laughed and gone back to my bar of chocolate.
Maybe the exercise is helping my mental health, but I definitely think I needed to reach a certain point in my recovery before I could start getting into an exercise routine like the one I have now.