Exercise makes me human

My mental health recovery really took off when I realized how much exercise makes me human

I was on the Olympic Judo Team and trained four hours a day from the age of about 13 until age 22. If I wasn’t at Judo practice, I was working out at home. When I was in high school, there was the night I did 1000 pushups in one night. I liked to read, so I used to make up workouts I could read to, like wall sits, where you sit with your thighs parallel to the floor in an imaginary chair.  I’d rest for the first paragraph and the last paragraph on each pair of pages, then work the legs for all the rest of the paragraphs.

Exercise makes me human. Sometimes hitting the Judo mat is the best wakeup, mental focus, and chiropractor work of all.

Exercise makes me human. Sometimes hitting the Judo mat is the best wakeup, mental focus, and chiropractor work of all.

Now that I’m retired from competitive Judo, I exercise more often by bicycling since I can combine transportation with exercise and it’s very convenient. However, sometimes  start bumping shoulders with my friends on purpose because I like the physical contact and I know it’s time to get to a Judo class. Exercise makes me human but also sometimes it’s very helpful to tackle people in a socially appropriate setting.

I didn’t know how much I need exercise and how exercise makes me human until my best friend and board chairman Ken Braiterman pointed it out. He’d been visiting me and I’d missed two days of workouts because we were carpooling. He said, “Wow, you get sick and grumpy really fast when you don’t work out.” Now I know I have to have a least one good workout each day. It’s like the exercise pulls out all the piss and vinegar that fills up my body from the emotional distress I have in my life.

Here’s a great poem about why I love bicycling and how exercise makes me human:



Exercise makes me human, but I’d love to hear about your personal wellness tool. What do you do to get through adversity?

3 comments to Exercise makes me human

  • […] I meet a lot of people out riding my bicycle. Once I was out and I starting talking to this guy on his way home from work. I had an open mic contest that night and practiced my poem for him. I think it was The Grassroots Manifesto that night. Well, this guy and I became friends and I see him now and then in one of my good social circles and he told me he’d be interested in sharing this experience anonymously that shows his outside view of mental health. […]

  • […] This explanation comes by way of my 92 year old grandma who is very wise in all the ways of the world and says, “I think you need to go outside.” What I’ve discovered is that when I am facing the daily challenges of my existence and my family and my world, my body fills up with a highly important chemical substance identified to my grandma as piss and vinegar. Sometimes when it is up to my eyeballs and my eyes turn yellow my fangs will come out. Then I get mean and critical and judgmental. I am always judgmental, this is my Achilles heel, but sometimes I get even more judgmental.  When I go running or ride my bike or go to Judo practice or play frisbee golf then the piss and vinegar go away and I can come home and be nice to people again. […]

  • […] Another thing that makes a difference for me is exercise. For many years of my life I used to exercise two or three times a day. When I was first put on psych meds I gained fifty pounds and exercise was much less enjoyable. I found that getting out and being active is just part of who I am, and the more I do, better I feel. Now I try to ride my bike to work during the day or have some fun with my dog in the afternoon. […]