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Mar 22, 2021

The Magical Bond Between Mental Health and Fitness

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)

The word magical means miraculous.  The word bond means connection, binding, link and to hold together.  We all have heard the term your health is your wealth.  There is a growing interest in people sincerely concerned about their health.  What is exceptionally important to recognize, is the fact that there is a magical bond between mental health and fitness.

Fitness feeds off of your mental health and your mental health feeds off of the fitness activity you engage in.  I have found such a special and sacred bond between the two.

I was never an athlete during my early childhood years, and did not engage in any high school sports, other than Powder Puff football.  I did try out for the swim team, and was selected, but did not remain on the team due to hair concerns, you know, I was more concerned on how my hair would look for my next two periods rather than remaining on the swim team.  With my current involvement with Black Girls Run!, I have noticed how being active increases my awareness for concern for not only my individual health, but for others.  The concern is in the forefront of my mind because I have witnessed and experienced the benefits of fitness and mental health working hand in hand to benefit the greater good of the person.  What does fitness and mental health look like as they work hand in hand?

Well, it can look like this:  During my second year of membership with BGR!, I landed a new job, I assisted in the planning of our family reunion being held on the other side of the United States in California, my son got married, my daughter graduated from college, and my mother was experiencing some health challenges.  There were times when I didn’t think I could ‘fit in’ any group runs, or other workouts due to my hectic schedule calling my name as planning mounted for each family event.  I struggled to find time, and I struggled to maintain a desire to run and complete my other workouts.  Then came the realization of the magical thing about endorphins.  Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body.  As I began to carve out time during my busy schedule, I began to experience a feeling of overwhelming joy and contentment I had never experienced before.  I was not sure where this feeling was coming from, but I sensed that it was coming from my increased fitness activity.  I began to research everything under the sun surrounding the ‘benefits of exercising.’  During my research, I landed on many articles supporting the positive benefits of fitness and how one’s mental health is directly tied in to exercise and the magic of endorphins.

Do you have challenging events in your life? We all do. I encourage you to make fitness a priority and watch the endorphins do their magic and lighten your load!

Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia.  Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988.  Eden joined Black Girls Run! in Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group.  Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.