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Kettlebells and Mental Health

Anucan

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We spend a lot of time on this forum, and appropriately so, talking about physical health.

That said, if anyone is willing to share, I'd be curious to hear... how kettlebell training has impacted your mental health?
 
We spend a lot of time on this forum, and appropriately so, talking about physical health.

That said, if anyone is willing to share, I'd be curious to hear... how kettlebell training has impacted your mental health?
Well, I love being physically strong but I have always viewed training as a huge bonus for mental health. When I was younger, I had a very short fuse, got into a lot of fights with other kids, etc. When I was about 11 my parents put me into boxing, then a few years later got into traditional Japanese jiu jitsu, wrestled, and when I was about 16 I discovered a school that taught Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Jeet Kune Do, and philipino Kali. Ironically, I found that the more I trained I wanted to compete in BJJ so I did and found that the aggression and insecurity I had as a kid kind of faded away. The more I trained and got beat in the gym I was humbled and had a lot more peace. Weightlifting give me a similar peace. I’ve always been a fairly aggressive person and I get bored with everyday life. Having that time in the gym just gives me that necessary adversity to my day.
 
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I read Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind in my 20s and fell in love with the idea of mindfulness. Took me another few decades to quiet my monkey mind enough to begin putting the concept into practice. I’ve maintained a daily meditation practice for eight or nine years now and the effect on my emotional and mental well-being has been profound.

So what does this have to do with kettlebell training? S&S training demands mindfulness more than any other form of exercise I’ve ever tried, aside from mountain biking. Chasing the perfect swing and get-up requires absolute attention to exactly what you’re doing with your body at each moment. And if you pay attention to your rest time, those periods also involve attentiveness to your body, particularly to your breathing. That’s essentially Suzuki’s definition of the meditative state. So, embracing minimalist training has increased my daily mindfulness practice by about 45 minutes a day. I’ve doubled the amount of time I can’t be anxious about the future or regretful or resentful of something that happened in the past. I’m confident that doing so is helping to make me a more effective and content human being
 
My training, which includes but is not limited to kettlebells, produces stress relief, mastery, purpose, focus, intentional breathing, and, putting down the screen. My mental health benefits from all of these.
 
The discrete addition of kettlebells to my mental health is... destressing about needing to go somewhere to train; the security and confidence of having everything i need (pretty much) in my "courage corner"
 
Kettlebells, barbells, cycling (bike riding)... All positively foundational for my mental health. I don't know for sure that I wouldn't have had good mental health without all those these past 15 years (I'm 56 now and started "training" around age 40... prior to that, I just exercised with mainstream fitness approaches) but I'm quite sure it has provided me a firm foundation, and that foundation has served me really well through inevitable rough seas of middle aged life. I guess one way to say it is that I think training does as much for mental health as it does for physical health. And that, quite obviously, is significant.
 
Training, for me, runs past therapy into "addiction" territory. That said, there are much worse things to be addicted to and if I look at is as a replacement for other more destructive physical/mental/emotional self-medicating behaviors then yay me.
 
In the late Dr Ainslie Meares method, a type of meditation in which the mind slows and becomes still results in calm. Calm comes from the mind. However, the mind lives in the body. Meditation support factors include things like diet, sleep and physical activity. If the body deteriorates from too much or too little physical activity then this will influence mental health. For example, during severe over training a physiological stress is added to the body and people feel fatigued, tense, anxious and have problems sleeping.

Good support will be provided for mental health via sensible physical activty (GPP) that results in gradual adaptation with minimal other biological costs.
 
Also, I'm currently reading/listening to Dirty Genes by Ben Lynch and am intrigued by the mental health connections he explores. I will be ordering my Nutrition Genome test shortly to get a handle on some peculiar issues that I have yet to get to the bottom of.
 
Kettlebells & S&S specifically were a huge part of my recovery from alcohol & drug addiction. Not having to think & just plug in program & do gave me something positive I could focus on daily.
Kettlebells accessibility & the fact I already owned enough of them meant I couldn’t make excuses not to train. When the urge to use would come I would pick up a bell. By the time I put it down the urge had passed. I trained a lot in those days.
 
Fabio has a kettlebell pressing programme that is called "Victorious".

What do athletes do when they score a goal or win a race? They put their hands up as an expression of joy and empowerment. To do that with weight feels good as well :)
 
Kettlebells & S&S specifically were a huge part of my recovery from alcohol & drug addiction. Not having to think & just plug in program & do gave me something positive I could focus on daily.
Kettlebells accessibility & the fact I already owned enough of them meant I couldn’t make excuses not to train. When the urge to use would come I would pick up a bell. By the time I put it down the urge had passed. I trained a lot in those days.
Your experience would make a great blog article, if you were so inclined. A lot of people need this message.
So glad you're still on the good path. That does indeed show strength! And that "Strength has a greater purpose."
 
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