I’ve found this to be one of the greatest differences that exists between individual humans, along with built-in levels of empathy. Turns out with exercise, people fall along a whole spectrum from those who experience nirvana through exercise, and those who feel better without it. My youngest brother is an example of the second who’s been really informative for me!
What I mean by exercise is something like, at minimum, running several miles, swimming strenuously for at least 30 minutes, or simply spending a whole day walking/hiking or other such physical activity. It is simply a case of the more I do, the better I feel. Up to a point it increases my perceived energy levels. It is the default activity I naturally fall down to.
I’m very much at the extreme end of naturally active and gaining the most enjoyment and peace through physical activity. And note this is nothing to do with any perceived virtuous aspects of exercise— it’s simply what I instinctively want to do. The satisfaction is deep and within my bones. It is synonymous with life. Whilst other factors may influence how I feel and affect my mental health, distort my perspectives of things, through exercise there is the cast-iron guarantee of feeling better about myself and the world and everything. It’s like, everything else is just the icing on the cake whereas physical activity is responsible for 90% of feeling good. Even going outside holds very little pleasure if I’m not active either whilst doing so or before.
You cannot stop me running around and moving as long as I’m able to. And that is the impossible challenge I have with knee problems combined with my active nature. The challenge of finding work I can do. The challenge of coming up against the system which views you as able to do sedentary jobs regardless— and vastly differing levels of empathy from people in general about this type of situation. Receiving accusations of using my knee problems and limited mobility as an excuse not to be going out and doing things, as if I must be lucky to be able to indulge in the ideal of being ‘lazy’! (Yes, I’ve experienced this as I’m sure have many people with physical disabilities).
You’ll find that anybody who’s an athlete or exercises without the need for motivating apps or group runs or does a physically strenuous job by choice will be similar to me. Being blocked from that is our hell— not a silver lining! The consequences will be chronic depression and anxiety, which can too easily end up being expressed as angry rage, especially without support or alternative means of expression.