Dear Dr. Laura-
I appreciate your wisdom and advice to callers, especially when you stress to others the importance of staying fit and healthy.
When I was 20, I suffered from severe, debilitating panic attacks, depression, and agoraphobia. I had been under a tremendous amount of mental anguish due to the suicide of a friend and also from being in an emotionally abusive relationship. Of course, I thought I was losing my mind. I was unable to leave the house, as I would totally freak out and have to rush back home if I tried to go out. It seemed as though I did not really sleep for weeks.
I remember reading an article regarding exercise and its positive effects on the brain. I had always been active, but I had never really done any exercise consistently. My first run was about a half mile. By the end of the month, I was running about three miles a day. My anxiety gradually diminished, and then disappeared altogether. In three months, I was able to run over ten miles. I lost weight, started eating healthier, and firmed up all over. I incorporated cycling and weight training into my exercise regimen.
Today I am 55 years old, and I still use running as an alternative treatment for my depression and anxiety, and for my general well-being. It is the greatest gift I have ever given myself. I am more fit than my teenage daughters, and compete in ultra-marathons of 30 to 60 miles. I do not have brittle bones or cellulite, and no one believes me when I tell them my age! My resting heart rate is 55. Is it easy at my age? No, but the benefits far outweigh the pain! I plan to keep running forever!
When I hear one of your callers complaining about their obesity, depression or anxiety, I am so glad you stress the importance of exercise. I see so many parents with children who are already becoming obese, and I just want to shake them! I consider it a form of child neglect for parents to allow their children to eat the wrong foods and not exercise. We have become a nation of fat, lazy, unhealthy people. We need more Dr. Lauras to advocate healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally!
Bless you for the gifts you give to all of us on a daily basis.