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    Registered User SynysterKyd's Avatar
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    Weightlifting with PTSD

    So I’ve recently begun intensive counseling and have been diagnosed with C-PTSD as a result of trauma from childhood. This has taken a huge emotional toll and I’ve noticed my recovery is awful from weight training. I usually train 4 times a week (almost entirely compound movements, focusing on powerlifting) and engage in a lot of other activity. I’ve done so for a little over a year now and never had an issue till now. I’ve gotten sick 4 times in less then two months, which is entirely irregular for me. Especially considering I’m only 20 and rather healthy, I find it hard to believe weightlifting would have an effect. But could weightlifting be hindering my mental recovery and hormonal balance? At least during this time of recovery?

    I ask simply cause I know weight training is a huge physical toll long after each session. With emotional trauma, various factors can oppress your immune system. do the two goals of emotional stability and weightlifting conflict at the moment?
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    Verified Aesthetic rhadam's Avatar
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    Weight training doesn't take a huge physical toll. Nor does it suppress your immune system. Exercise is shown to improve psychological markers as well as health markers.
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    Registered User TheShadowMan's Avatar
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    If there is emotional issues to contend with, physical activity like weightlifting could be a great positive distraction. The endorphins it creates helps you not think about the trauma, even rehabilitate from it. Assuming you're doing the lifts controlled with proper form so as to avoid injuries, I don't see a lot of downsides to lifting, in your case.
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    Registered User Strawng's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rhadam View Post
    Weight training doesn't take a huge physical toll. Nor does it suppress your immune system. Exercise is shown to improve psychological markers as well as health markers.
    Originally Posted by TheShadowMan View Post
    If there is emotional issues to contend with, physical activity like weightlifting could be a great positive distraction. The endorphins it creates helps you not think about the trauma, even rehabilitate from it. Assuming you're doing the lifts controlled with proper form so as to avoid injuries, I don't see a lot of downsides to lifting, in your case.
    This. I also have C-PTSD and weightlifting & exercise in general have been some of the biggest lifesavers (literally) for me in my recovery. The rush of endorphins and mind-body connection (which tends to be horrible in people like us) is incredibly beneficial. Provided you eat and rest enough, you can really only stand to benefit OP. Also, you might want to check out something like boxing or some other forms of cardio. Great for getting your emotions out and reconnecting you with your body.
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    Registered User HanleyTucks's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SynysterKyd View Post
    I ask simply cause I know weight training is a huge physical toll long after each session. With emotional trauma, various factors can oppress your immune system. do the two goals of emotional stability and weightlifting conflict at the moment?
    Exercise is moving your body and getting your sweat on. This may or may not stress the system.

    Training is a planned series of a sessions designed to improve some physical quality. This will always stress your system, that's the point of it - you stress your system in such a way that your system adapts so that it is no longer a stress.

    You will find that if you have other stresses in your life, that recovering from the stress of the workout is more difficult. This applies whether those other stresses are inherent in you (like PTSD,or having a chronic physical disease) or due to your life circumstances (busy at work, about to get married or have student exams, etc).

    There is a time to exercise, and a time to train. Even a person without chronic mental or physical health problems can't train year-round; most people have 1-3 periods of serious progress each year, no more, because life happens, the rest of the time they're just showing up, doing the work, and not getting stronger or fitter, just stopping themselves from getting worse - maintaining.

    You must assess for yourself whether this is a time to exercise or to train. Exercise benefits all sorts of mental and physical ailments, training may or may not, this depends on individual circumstances.
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    Registered User Nicksosure1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HanleyTucks View Post
    Exercise is moving your body and getting your sweat on. This may or may not stress the system.

    Training is a planned series of a sessions designed to improve some physical quality. This will always stress your system, that's the point of it - you stress your system in such a way that your system adapts so that it is no longer a stress.

    You will find that if you have other stresses in your life, that recovering from the stress of the workout is more difficult. This applies whether those other stresses are inherent in you (like PTSD,or having a chronic physical disease) or due to your life circumstances (busy at work, about to get married or have student exams, etc).

    There is a time to exercise, and a time to train. Even a person without chronic mental or physical health problems can't train year-round; most people have 1-3 periods of serious progress each year, no more, because life happens, the rest of the time they're just showing up, doing the work, and not getting stronger or fitter, just stopping themselves from getting worse - maintaining.

    You must assess for yourself whether this is a time to exercise or to train. Exercise benefits all sorts of mental and physical ailments, training may or may not, this depends on individual circumstances.
    Nothing to add, just wanted to stop by and say I really really like this answer. On point.
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    Registered User Strawng's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Nicksosure1 View Post
    Nothing to add, just wanted to stop by and say I really really like this answer. On point.
    It sounds really cool, but it’s ridiculously oversimplified if not completely nonsensical. OP is a total newbie who will make consistent progress for at least a year. Even if he were more advanced, there doesn’t need to be some hardcore black-and-white dichotomy between “exercise” & “training”. Sure, walking through the park is definitely just exercise for most people and preparing for a competition is “training” for almost everyone. Everything in between those two extremes is a grey area though. Even if people don’t always make consistent progress, they tend to strive for it.
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    Registered User HanleyTucks's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Strawng View Post
    OP is a total newbie who will make consistent progress for at least a year.
    This doesn't match my experience. Even the rare completely physically and mentally healthy person will have life happen in any 12 month period. They'll get sick, have minor injuries, go on holiday, get bored or burned out, have to take a couple of weeks away from the gym during a busy period at work or when their brother gets married or something. They'll have to drop back and build up.

    Add in chronic physical or mental health issues and there'll be even more interruptions to steady training.

    I can't post links yet, but the Starting Strength guys spent some time looking at the newbie online journals, and from memory, less than 5% were DTFP, and most of them dropped out early on. It may have been physiologically possible for them to continue, but they didn't. Why? Well, the traditional answer is, as Rippetoe puts it, "most people are lazy slobs." This is a popular answer among those of us who did better than that, because then we are teh soopeeriur beinks. Alternately: life happens.

    But perhaps your experience of training yourself and others varies from this. Tell us about your experiences of being a newbie training with mental health issues, or even better, your experiences of training newbies with mental health issues. Stories of what happened and reasonable expectations can be helpful for everyone.
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