Can Exercise Piss You Off?

Okay, this may be a little too “woo-woo” for my scientifically inclined readers, but I’m going to ask it anyway.

So, I used to walk Mrs. Wigglebottom every week day and take her to the park for a big long walk on one day on the weekend.  Basically, for the last four or five weeks, forget about it.  I’ve been sleeping like shit and stressed out and then I had my surgery and so that was a week out of commission and blah blah blah.

So, this has been the first week we’ve been back to anything approaching a normal schedule–to the park on Sunday and then walks in the morning.

And here’s what I’m noticing.  I’m finding it really, really unpleasant.  Like, when I set out for the walk, I feel great and the wind is in my hair and the cool air feels nice on my face and the dog looks cute and off we go.  But as I start to warm up, I start to feel like shit.

Not physically.  But emotionally.

This is what it seems like.  It seems like all this stuff that I’ve had to either push aside or only let out in small bits has just soaked into me and as I move around, it’s like as the muscles move around, that shit works its way back up and, I hope, out.

It really sucks.  Now, this morning, at the end of our walk, I was feeling that familiar upbeat feeling I normally feel for the last part of our walk, but I came home feeling like I’d been through the emotional ringer.

So, tell me, exercise-y types, have you had similar experiences?  To what do you attribute it?  And will it eventually go away?

14 thoughts on “Can Exercise Piss You Off?

  1. Nothing unscientific about it. Strong emotions DO release themselves in chemical form into the body. The mind and the body are not distinct and separate entities. That which ails the mind ails the body and that which ails the body ails the mind.

    One option would be to just keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll eventually work it out most likely. You could also go sit in a sauna for a while and sweat it out. Fasting for a couple of days would work too.

  2. According to a masseuse I used to go to, muscles do store the chemicals from stressors for a surprisingly long time. We don’t help themselves by walking around totally dehydrated and jacked up on caffeine — things tend to stay in the body longer if not flushed away, so it makes sense that as you begin to move around, you start feeling like crap.

    Hey, I bet this is yet another reason why sedentary people who have been too busy or stressed to exercise resist continuing their exercise programs beyond the first day or two.

  3. Hey, now! Let’s not be knocking walking around jacked up on caffeine. That’s my favorite vice.

    Anyway, I have to say that it makes me feel better to know that. There’s some stuff that, when it starts to feel bad, you stop because you know the going is only going to get worse–like stepping on one shard and stopping before you put your other foot down into the rest of the broken glass–and there’s other stuff that, when it starts to feel bad, you keep going because you know you’re knocking loose stuff that needs to be gotten rid of.

    I’ve heard masseuses… masseausi… say that before, but I didn’t really extrapolate it to exercise in general. But okay, that makes sense.

    And Bridgett, yeah, I wonder about that, too. I’ve been reading Kate Harding’s blog, with her whole push to just being healthy right now–move around and be a part of things and just take action in the world. And I do wonder, for folks, not just who are too busy or stressed to exercise, but for people who really feel like shit about themselves, whether we’re acknowledging and informing them that, when they start becoming more active, it may very well be unpleasant… not because it’s hard, but because there will be these sucky feelings that have been trapped in your body unleashed.

    If people who massage you know that, why aren’t personal trainers and gym teachers (assuming kids still have gym) also telling people that?

    Because, I have to say, just having confirmation from y’all that this is just shit that I need to flush from my system working its way out makes me feel a lot less dread about going out with the dog tomorrow morning. I feel like I’m doing something useful as opposed to grueling.

  4. Ditto on all this. I’ve noticed it with yoga. When I haven’t done it for a while, and then start doing some of those twists, which is essentially like wringing out all of the bad stuff stored up in your muscles, it always makes me nauseous. My instructor said she once did a pose and immediately and inexplicably started crying. Weird, but apparently very true. I think it’s better to get that stuff out, though, than to keep bearing its weight in your mind or your muscles (obviously connected, as dolphin suggests).

  5. It might also just be the time spent. I find that my emotions tend to get really out of whack on the drive home, and other times when I’ve got a lot of time to think and nobody to talk to. (Largely when there isn’t enough sunlight for me, but still.)

    I don’t have any cool suggestions about it, though.

  6. I’m not wholly an “exercisy” type but I can say you’re right. I tend to only be able to get good exercise half the month–it’s a 2 weeks on/2 weeks off thing.

    And the first few days back are always angry-making. I actually have a mix on my iPod for those days with a lot of kick-you-in-the-balls rock that lets me work out my anger.

    God bless AC/DC

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  8. I would’ve chalked it up to all the time your mind has to wander while you’re out walking. That’s why I find it to be a good stress reliever. My brain is on neutral so it uses the time to work though whatever is bouncing around up there.

    In your case, your walk wasn’t long enough to work it through.

  9. For me, it depends on the workout. This phenomenon simply doesn’t happen to me when I restart my running routine. Running has always come so natural to me, even when I’m totally out of shape. I can’t feel anything but at home when I run, even after a long layoff.

    Now, when I restart weight training, that pisses me off. 5 lbs, small reps, and I STILL can’t walk teh next day. Reminds me of the crappy shape I’m in, muscle-wise, when I stop.

    But, one good thing about being me, I don’t need a special time or activity to get all emotionally out of whack. It’s pretty much an all-the-time kind of thing with me. :)

  10. Yep. I was a raging bitch after my weekly yoga classes for the first three months. It got better. I assume it’s the same with starting other regimens as well.

    Like Dr. J’s, my instructor tells us that some postures can lead to crying. Fortunately I haven’t experienced that yet.

  11. “Muscle memory” is not a myth. My back and neck have been so snarled for so long that I cry about nothing in particular every time I’m massaged – not because the massage hurts but just because my body says “You’re safe; cry out all this stress now.” Same thing with certain kinds of deep relaxation.

    I recommend the Swami J “Yoga Nidra” CD – it’s a sleep yoga that you pop in before you lie down, and it seems to help that, for me.

  12. I get done with exercise and feel like putting a knife in my jugular. It’s always like that. Luckily I don’t have to worry about weight that much since I frequently forget to eat. *rolls eyes*

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