March 2: Exercise to boost your mood

Does the weather affect your mood? Do you skip to the beach when it’s sunny or feel like crying when it rains? Do you crack the SADs in cold weather or dread an allergy onslaught in spring? Does the wind make you wicked?

What a strange phenomenon the weather is. It’s raining here today, wild weather in fact, and I feel like bawling. The wind is so strong it’s blown small bits of stuff from inside the roof onto my pillow. (We live in a very old house.)

I did a bit of research on how much the weather can affect our moods and, of course, there’s no outright yes or no for everyone because we’re all different. There are, however, some who feel it more than others. Here’s an interesting article from a psychological perspective and another about bad weather making a bad mood worse.

Seems I’m in a bad mood today! (That exclamation mark was added through gritted teeth.) So … how to turn that frown upside down? With a bit of exercise perhaps?

There are hundreds of articles about exercise improving your mood (examples here, here and here), so even if I wasn’t committed to doing at least 15 minutes a day this year, hopefully I would have looked to exercise as a great get-out-of-the-doldrums solution. Hopefully! *gritted teeth*

After thinking who would lift my spirits the most, it was a contest between Daniel and Kelli from Fitness Blender and Jillian Michaels. It’s been a while since I’ve done a workout with Jillian, and this is the reason I went with her 30 Day Shred Workout Level 2.

I really didn’t want to exercise today. Really, really, really didn’t want to. Listening to the crazy weather made me want to stay in bed, and I did until quite late. But at least I finished a book – reading has been very neglected of late.

Jumping around with Jillian – actually, no, that’s an alliteration over-exaggeration as there was hardly any jumping at all – moving with Jillian for 25 minutes (as the house walls shook and the flagpole bent like a branch too) has boosted my mood.

She does a series of exercises which involve both arms and legs (tin cans needed. I was feeling so unmotivated beforehand I couldn’t even be bothered filling the large water bottles, my new weights of choice) and there’s quite a few performed in the plank position. If you have dodgy wrists or shoulders, let alone a weak core, these can be tough. But there’s always the option to drop to your knees and dream of the day when you can stay up the whole time. I dream of that day! *no gritting here*

So, readers, hopefully when you’re not feeling the best, or something’s got you down – weather-related or not – you’ll still think of the fitfor15in15 mantra of doing something, anything, to get the blood flowing and the brain focused on moving, rather than what put you in the bad mood in the first place. I think it’s worked. Maybe a bit of baking now would kick it up a notch? Hmmm … there’s always those biscuits from the Kambly factory … 😉

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Lionel Asbo: State of England by Martin Amis


Lionel Asbo … Not for the faint-hearted

The end of this book was almost a blur because I felt so nervous – the tension had been building for sooooo long that I don’t know if I took the words in properly. Martin Amis has a wonderful style, very raw, and Lionel Asbo has to be one of the most … ahhhh … distasteful characters ever to be immortalised on paper.

I haven’t read much of Amis before so when I saw Lionel Asbo: State of England I thought why not? Reading the front and back covers made it sound quite funny. And it was! But it was also very, very chilling. Because I’m sure there are many real Lionel Asbos out there in the world, not just in England.

He’s a thug and petty criminal, who, in a fit of rage, makes someone disappear. In prison, on completely unrelated charges, he wins a fortune in the national lottery. Once he’s out, a reporter and photographer pretty much follow his every move – his new lifestyle and old personality are perfect tabloid fodder. He never thinks to help his large, struggling family with any cash and crashes his way through life with his own sense of what’s right and wrong.

Yes, his nephew and other main character, Desmond, does do something that 99.9% of the population would consider to be very, very wrong. But Lionel’s version of justice keeps you on tenterhooks right to the end. What will he do to Desmond?

I can’t say too much, other than if you’re looking for a bit of a laugh with a sinister undertone, this could be the perfect story. If you’re into civility, decorum and being nice to dogs, then this could be totally wrong.