I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

Just Move It (Part 1 of 4)

As a survivor, I believe strongly in daily, physical exercise. Most experts on physical fitness suggest some form of aerobic or cardio exercise 3 times a week for about 30 minutes.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper introduced the term in the 1960s, and I’ve been an advocate of his approach since the mid-1970s. He uses the term to refer to exercises that demand the use of oxygen during the workout, such as running/jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking (fast-paced walking).

For survivors I suggest a different approach. Do it every day and as early in the day as possible. (I’m a morning person so that’s easier for me.) I chose running, although I now rotate it with fast-clipped walking. I used to be able to do 15-minute miles walking, but now it takes me 17 to 18 minutes a mile.

The purpose is to get that heart pumping. Not only does it improve our health as Cooper and others have advocated, it improves our mental health, reduces stress, and lowers depression. The experts claim (and so do I) that daily exercise increases our cognitive capacity.

My Merriam-Webster defines cognitive as conscious mental activities (such as thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering).

For those of us who were victimized as children, this is the easiest and least expensive form of therapy. My daily run doesn’t cure anything, but it improves my spiritual and physical outlook.


Anonymous said...

I have heard this kind of advice most of my life - but for me it has been difficult to put into practice. This is because some of the abuse in my life took place in the context of PE classes, gyms, locker rooms, sports fields and tracks. Any kind of exercise program would bring back bad memories. After years of working on abuse issues, I am finally to the place where I can try to do something serious to get into better shape. Yesterday my wife and I joined the Y and will be taking an exercise class together. During our tour of the facilities I even went into the locker and just stood there, breathing. I think I can do this.


Cecil Murphey said...

Lee, I'm sorry for your terrible experience, and I applaud you for determining to overcome it by exercising. What a painful ordeal it must have been for you to go into the locker room. Congratulations on your courage to take that powerful step.