Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Doug Robertson Headshot

The Power of Exercise

Posted: Updated:

Exercise is a truly powerful thing.

I came from a small town in Somerset. Everybody knew me. I was known as the boy who ran everywhere. I never walked. I ran absolutely everywhere. People assumed that I loved to run. To be honest, that have never crossed my mind, I just wanted to get where I was going as quickly as possible.

In my second year at secondary school, the PE session that everybody had been dreading, finally arrived. Cross country! After crossing the finish line, I had to wait fifteen minutes for the next kid to finish. The PE teacher, a well-known and celebrated cross-country runner, just stared at me wide eyed - he later called my Dad and informed him that his son was a cross-country runner. And so my cross-country career began. Nobody noticed that I didn't enjoy running, nobody noticed that I only ran to get where I was going as quickly as possible. I went on to compete at a high level in the UK and in Europe.

Luckily, at the age of thirteen, I had a horrible accident that almost destroyed my left knee. I couldn't walk for six months, and it took four years for my leg to look the same again. During my rehabilitation, I started swimming to strengthen the muscles around my knee. Unluckily, somebody called my dad and told him I was a swimmer. Three year on, I went on to become the Western counties champion.

At the age of nineteen, I'd had enough. While my friends were out on Saturday nights dating girls, I would be at a swimming gala captaining the Yeovil swim squad. It was a no-brainer, the swimming would have to go.

As the years went on, I invested my energy into my theatre company and my playwriting. I completed a film studies degree and later got a job as a runner in the post-production industry. I spent the next seven years sat in a chair and staring at TV screens - gaining a lot of weight and losing a lot of colour from my cheeks. Late nights, bad living, poor diet, and the accumulation of bad habits particular to the TV industry took their toll. I was depressed. So I left, my job, my house and my girlfriend and went home to Yeovil.

I remained depressed for a week or two, but this headspace seemed so unlike me. Something was wrong and I didn't know what. My instincts told me to get back into the pool and to regain my fitness. So I did.

At the end of the first week, I didn't feel much fitter, but I felt less depressed. At the end of the second week, I didn't feel that depressed at all. After six months, I could no longer relate to the depressed, overweight, low-energy person I had become during those seven years.

Exercise is a truly powerful thing.

For every positive physiological change that occurs in the body, there is a corresponding and equally positive change that occurs within the mind.

Having learnt this fact, through my own body, I didn't need to be told twice. I had been trying to decide which direction to my new career should follow and I now I knew - I would become a personal trainer. Now I would need to stay fit healthy and positive. What a great bi-product of my new career choice.

To find out more about Doug visit his website.

Read more posts from Doug Robertson at Body in Balance.

Most Popular Videos

More from the Web