A couple of years ago, I went running every day for help for schizoaffective disorder. I let running fall by the wayside as winter approached even though running really made me happier, more energized, and less anxious. So why doesn’t this schizoaffective gal lace back up her running shoes, and what made her stop running to begin with if running was such a great help for schizoaffective disorder?
Running, for Me, Isn’t the Best Help for Schizoaffective Disorder
Getting help for schizoaffective disorder by running worked, no doubt about that. But I can tell you why I stopped running: I just plain stopped liking it, especially as the weather became cold and snow covered the ground (When a Bipolar Coping Skill Stops Working). My mom runs every day; rain, sleet, snow, or shine. My mom is a superwoman. I am not my mom (or a superwoman). I tried to follow her lead and run every morning, no matter what, but it got to be a chore and painful in bad weather.
So, I took up walking. That is all very well and good until the temperature slides below 35 degrees outside. A quick run in low temperatures is tolerable but got harder and harder. Walking in that kind of weather is just plain miserable. I thought about walking in an indoor mall. That didn’t work out, mainly because I’m afraid to drive in the snow to our closest indoor mall. I’m getting better about that, though.
Now that it’s spring, I’m trying to walk outside more again. My husband, Tom, and I went for a short walk today—short because it was cold and windy. I was able to go for a long walk yesterday, though, and Tom and I went for a long walk two days ago.
Something about taking up running again makes me so stressed out. I currently don’t even own a decent pair of running shoes. But my psychiatrist says that walking is good exercise. So I’ll stick to the walking.
I’m not exercising to lose weight. I’m exercising because it’s good for my mental health. Have you ever heard of a runner’s high? There’s also a walker’s high that occurs after a long, strenuous walk.
Other benefits of walking over running:
- You don’t have to wear special shoes.
- You don’t have to wear special clothes.
- You can carry an umbrella if it’s raining.
- It’s not hard on your knees.
- You can wear an overcoat.
Of Course, This Schizoaffective Wouldn’t Mind Some Weight Loss
I have to admit that, even if I’m not walking to lose weight, some weight loss would be nice. I can almost fit into my size 10 pair of jeans and it would be so nice to be able to wear them. It would make me feel good about myself. But I’m hoping that walking in and of itself and knowing I’m being proactive about my mental health will make me feel good about myself, too.