Bipolar Disorder Community
Exercise and Mood Stability
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Exercise and Mood Stability

I was just wondering if anyone else has to exercise to stabilize their moods like I do.

Without exercise, I am a mess. I have to get cardio at least an hour a day to be able to keep my moods under control...

It works perfectly, and I love it, so no complaints, just curious as to if there are others like me :)
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910419_tn?1289487327
I can basically only exercise when I'm manic. I have chronic pain and most of the time I'm too laid out from the pain to have the energy to work out or do anything that requires a lot of moving. And since exercising increases the blood flow, it makes my status migrainous worse, and thus lays me out even more.

However, when I'm manic, I start doing heavy manual labor (like moving furniture) to burn off the energy and stay in control.
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585414_tn?1288944902
Psychomoter agitation, that is motor restlessness is often one common symptom of mania but exercising daily is of course a standard part of maintaining health. I do know that before my current recovery when I was manic I would often take endless walks that led to nowhere and also when I was depressed I would be sluggish and not keep up with this so when things are stable generally its a middle ground. With me its confusing, as I have advanced tardive so motor restlessness is part of that but it can occur during mood swings as well. That can include rearranging my house or items and long walks where I lose orientation. The family member I have with cyclothymia (mild bipolar) tends to have to organize things and generally remain in motion when they are experiencing mood swings and with them its mental not physical but it is under research that bipolar has physical aspects as well so its complex.
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Avatar_m_tn
I never found that exercise improves my mood.  I'm just usually stuck feeling a lot of anxiety and a lack of emotions.  I always fall out of exercise like with everything else that involves a routine if I try doing it but I also have a bad leg and bad back and my joints seem to hurt when I run and such so those don't exactly encourage me to exercise.
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1237757_tn?1323146719
I find it to be the key factor in helping to stabilise my moods.  I've joined a Triathlon club and try to go as much as I can.  I really find the swimming helps me dramatically, it's like I've been baptised when I come out of the pool.  I had a bad reaction to Endep last year, which launched me into mania for 4 months.  Over that time I had to take so much Xanax to control the panic attacks I ended up getting addicted to Xanax.  Spoke to my coach about it and through exercising I was able to get of the Xanax and burn off the excess energy I was having from the mania.

Can't recommend triathlon enough, the different exercises helps with letting parts of your body recover so you can go everyday if you want.  I only really have trouble going when I'm depressed, hard to want to go for a 3km swim when you are depressed, but I do cry a bit as I swim up and down the first few laps but end up coming out of the pool feeling much, much better.

I've joined the largest team in my area and they have a massive crew, real great social interaction and we are always talking on facebook and going out as well.  During the races they are also by far the loudest and you get cheers from people you have never met before just because you are in the team colours, can't describe the feeling of achievement after you come over the line, just brilliant.

It's at the stage now that I don't take any antidepressents or mood stabilisers at all, but I will if I need to, want to avoid lithium if I can as it would be hard on my kidneys with the racing, so I make sure I go as much as I can.

We had a forced down time in April to recover from the end of season so your body can repair before you start the next year.  Really didn't work for me at all, ended up getting manic and couldn't sleep.  In the end went for a 21km run as I was too manic to ride only to find I still couldn't sleep.

I then did a race the next week and ended up getting an injury, I've been unable to really train much at all because of it and it's starting to show.  I've been put onto a sports doctor/nutritionist though and have started a vitamin supplement regime, he's worked with bipoalr people before and I have to admit even from just a weeks vitamins I'm feeling much better.

I know there are a lot of people with Bipolar that aren't as lucky as I am, so every time I race I like to think I'm racing for those that can't, really helps motivate me.  I want to prove to the world that those with Bipolar can do anything.  I've also got a long term goal to one day be a non-executive director on a company board.  I'm unemployed at the moment so it's still a bit of a way off but I've got the education to get me there, just need to keep applying myself.

Good luck with the Exercise, I put it in the box as just another form of treatment, like taking a pill and if I stop or don't go I'll have to take more pills which I don't want to do unless I have to. :0)
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Avatar_m_tn
Absolutely! Exercise makes a HUGE difference to my moods. If I don't exercise for 2 days, I'm totally grumpy.
It's difficult to get started when I'm down.
But I try not to think about how much I don't feel like it, how cold it is, or whatever other excuse - and rather
'think Nike' and JUST DO IT!

I can even handle certain annoying people after exercise.
And I think I blend in better socially after a good workout.
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Avatar_f_tn
I do tris as well - I'm just coming off of an ankle surgery, so the running is slowly but surely getting back up there... painstaking process!

I've only done sprint distance, but next year I hope to get back into it and give the Olympic distance a go. I also want to run a marathon... but with the ankle, it's touch and go.

Great to meet another tri addict :) I agree about the pool workouts - or any hard workout. I'm in a state of bliss after a hard workout!

LOL Deepie - I, too, have a higher tolerance for annoying people after a workout! I'm a really nice person :)
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1237757_tn?1323146719
Yay, Another tri-addict!

I've also got a sore foot from running, did my fascia and have shin splits.  I'm also doing mostly sprints but did do one Olympic distance one last year, it was my first year at doing a triathlon so I was pretty happy.  I'm in Clydesdale category as I still need to lose some weight but I hoping to be out of that category before the next season starts in October.  I managed to come 9th overall in my category in my first year so I was pretty happy.

I've also set the goal of doing a marathon this year but am not sure if I should with my foot.  Still what to up it a little bit from last year. :0)

Curious to know any ways you have used exercist to control mania and depression.  for me swimming is best, but I've also got on a windtrainer at times and have listened to spa music as I cycle for a long period but with a very low effort. T2 on a Garmin Heart rate montior which is basically very low around 120bpm-130bpm max.  That seemed to work pretty well.

When I get really hypo I normally don't want to ride on the road as it is hard to concentrate, so I tend to go for a run instead.  This is normally when I do my foot injuries as I'll just keep running and running further than my body can handle at the moment.  I'm having to work hard to listen to my feet more while I run.

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Avatar_f_tn
I was Athena (that sounds awesome) my first tri. I am finally losing all my weight, which has helped all my joints.

Do you have flat feet by any chance? I have shoe inserts from a sporting goods store that help my feet, otherwise either my feet, shins or the tendons in my legs act up.

I use a totally different approach... I wear myself out. If I go hard and burn my energy, my body responds by acting like it would if I was a normal person (haha - normal). That's when I'm normal or up. When I'm down, I do whatever I can. My energy is lower, so I may hop on the bike and go slow or jog/walk... but I make myself get out there. I'm all about routine with my exercise.

Oh - and the going too far... I've learned to schedule my workouts... so my 'long run' is set in stone. I know I have to do what's in my log... if I want to lift weights after, I'm at the gym. I can do crunches/situps, I can even ride on my trainer. But no more running. It really, really helps to follow some sort of plan and not wing it when you're up so you don't overdo it - at least with running.

My pdoc actually includes that I need 60 min cardio/day - she's seen me without, and it's obvious. I think it's a combo of something I love missing out of my day combined with that release from exercise of all those endorphins.

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1237757_tn?1323146719
Yeah I do have flat feet, have been thinking of getting some shoe inserts from a podiatrist, that being said though I'm spending a lot of money at the moment on tests, doctors, psychologists and now a whole bunch of nutritional stuff.  I'm unemployed so really can't spend too much, but it is my health and I was only diagnosed last year.  

That being said I don't think I'd put it in the spending spree type basket.  I'm just trying to get as much information as I can about the condition and more improtantly get myself healthy.  I'm pretty burned out at the moment.  I think it will probably take me about 6 months on the vitamins and exercising to get my body back into shape.

That being said you are absolutley right about the exercise making a difference, I only go a few days and I start losing my centre.  Jump in the pool and it brings me back in.
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes, sticking to the routine is incredibly important - other wise I just 'fall off' and it takes forever to get my groove back
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Avatar_m_tn
I have found that the sport of triathlon has transformed my life. BUT, I have to be careful when I am manic because I can go overboard with the EAT SLEEP SWIM BIKE RUN REPEAT thing. My TDoc says it is a healthy obsession. It was an easy jump from sprints to Half Ironman distance races. I use this with medication to manage my disease. I would be lost without it.
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1237757_tn?1323146719
Yep I know how you feel, I've just got a new job and have been unable to train for the past few weeks. In fact I've only been training 5 times in the past month.  Really frustrating getting back into it again, have started a new diet to lose weight (ketosys) but can't seem to get it to work at the moment and I think it is because of the lack of exercise.  Have promised myself to get out and ride tomorrow no matter what happens :0)
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey BP2,

Ketosis, you mean high protein - Atkins?

I don't mean to break your motivation,
just trying to guide you to use that motivation in a more effective manner

My mother and brother have been 'on it' for the past few years, and they are both obese.

It's not sustainable. One cannot eliminate or reduce a certain foodgroup that is vital to the body's functioning.
Healthy Carbs are the basis of what your body needs to function properly.
You can do high protein for a while, it's easy and filling - but when those carb cravings come on, they come on BAD.
My brother and mother are both convinced that they have the strongest willpower ever ...ie. not eating for a week!!!
And that's why they believe they can do it this time - never eating carbs again, but they keep on failing, failing, failing.
It's not a natural diet for your body.
And all that fat is certainly not good for your heart!
U know that Dr.Atkins died of a heart attack?

My weight used to jo-jo drastically since I was 12, fat, thin, fat, thin, fat, thin,
and then one day I realised that I don't know how to eat properly.
I have a bad relationship with food.
And I know nothing about food (except how many calories are in which foods)
don't know how they work, don't know how much I need - don't know how much of which food will give me the right amounts of nutrients.
Don't know what my resting metabolic rate is.

Went to a dietician and decided to face the facts.
The facts are that I must now have to come to terms with eating like normal people do.
Normal, balanced portions, regular mealtimes,etc.

Let me tell you, It's been three years and I will never look back.
And don't think I stick to the diet always - but the great thing is - even if I do eat a whole bag of chips, sweets everyday
(these days I haven't been exercising much, 1nce or 2ce a week - got some help now so will try to get more exercise in) - I overeat often and go over the recommended daily allowance -
BUT I'm still fine - I have been at the same body weight for once in my life for 3 years!
Give or take the odd 2 kgs up or down from my standard weight.
So my body is used to the routing, metabolism is up.
And I'm happy with my weight - and I'm fussy about how I look.

It honestly was the best thing I ever could have done.
Dieticians rule!
Oh, and I got the dieticians details by asking a 40year old lady that looks 30 - with a nicer figure than a teenager (she's not a gym bunny) - how she keeps her figure!!

Amazing - let me know what you decide?
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1237757_tn?1323146719
Yeah I know what you are saying it is certainly not a long term diet.  I've actually been put on it by a medical doctor who specialises in sports nutrition.  Its being fully supervised and is only being used short term to drop a lot of weight.  I've got to lose about 26kg she said, Crikey.

Also in combination with it I'm taking a million and one vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So I'll just let her o her thing for the moment, my metabolism is stuffed at the moment anyway  and think it could do with a bit of a kick start again.  Hoping this will do the trick.

Will keep you updated with how we go.
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Avatar_m_tn
Oh sorry BP2,
I shouldn't have assumed you were doing it on you own!

Ok, that's great!

Longterm tho, dieticians are wonderful!

Thanks for not being annoyed (I hope) by my lecture!






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