Exercise and Tinnitus.

The Joy of Exercise.

I guess this is a subject that you will either love or hate.


I am a lover of exercise. It has been with me since I was a very young chap. A football player of a father who simply sent me out in all weathers to “play” outside.

So, I have always played Football (Soccer), Rugby, Skied, swam, biked, gone to the gym and run.

I have used the exercise as a hobby pretty much through my life. Yet as I have gotten older it has become less about the contact side of sport as my body no longer recovers from the rugby or the football.
So, it became about feeling healthy.

The funny thing I exercised like a mad man. I could run 25 miles a week, swim a mile or two a week and cycle for miles. Yet I ate absolutely anything that was on the menu, drank anything I chose and pretty much smoked a pack of cigarettes a day.

I figured I could out train the bad habits. I was not aware that I used it to also mask the tinnitus. The ringing was always there. I really struggle to find a time when it was not there. However, at times Barbera as I know my Tinnitus seemed to be quiet.

Yet I was not up to speed that I felt so much better when I exercised and simply forgot about Barbara.

I probably could out train the food, booze and cigarettes up until about 40 years old. Then it was just a touch harder and I knew I had to moderate to some degree. I did and managed to exercise and eat less rubbish, but I do still eat the rubbish.

It was around this time, 40 years old I recognised the exercise had become as much about my mental health as actually exercising. I competed in an Ultra Race and badly injured my ankle. I was not in a good space for over 6 months and the training dropped off.

I stopped the exercise. Full stop. End. Halas. No exercise for a good 6 months. I did however continue to eat in great proportions and ensure I went for a beer anytime the chance arose.

You will note I managed to pack on some timber. Yet I also recognised I was tired, had brain fog, was not doing the chores I used to do, I was putting simple things off to another day.
The simple stuff I never even thought about suddenly weighed heavy. So did the extra fat about my waist.

I realised the exercise kept me sane, kept me happy, kept me mentally strong and best of all I really really enjoyed it.

Plus, during this downtime Barbera was banging away like a rock band and she really came to the front of my life. The dizziness began in earnest and I was a wobbly thing rather a lot of the week.

I had finished the physio and the ankle was recovered. Yet I was carrying some decent timber. Not that much but a good 10kg of pure beer and pizza.

That was fine, I knew I could simply fix the diet and exercise and over a few weeks and months the fat would be burnt off.

The mental side was new territory. I was fed up as I was injured. I felt sorry for myself and I missed the adrenaline boosts I would get from thrashing myself running.

It took me the best part of 3 weeks to get back into the exercise. Being the all or nothing type of chap I figured I could just go back to running 10km 3 or 4 times a week with a 15 or 20 km at the weekends and the gym before work or at lunchtime. .

I could not walk for the first two weeks. The pain or DOMS, the muscle soreness was unreal. I could not walk down the stairs.

Yet I associated great pleasure to this level of soreness. I was back doing the exercise.

I loved it. I felt alive.

Over the course of the first 2, 3 or 4 weeks back into the exercise I never considered my mental health. I knew I had become lazy whilst injured but never put ten and four together and worked it out.

I just realised that after a few weeks, suddenly I was working longer hours, I was not going to the pub as much, not ordering crap food, making better choices, doing my personal admin again and reading books. The light switched back on for me and the mental side of the exercise was proof how much of a benefit it was to my mental health.

Barbera even calmed down and when I was out and about exercising I could sense she was turned down.

I have injured the same ankle again since. This time I kept going to the gym. I simply did nothing that involved legs and when the physio gave me new exercises I would treble the number she gave and loved it. I felt brilliant for just getting up and getting on with it.
Lesson learnt I figured.

I have to say I did eventually stop the cigarettes. The change to how I feel from stopping the cigarettes is remarkable as well.

Long Live Barbera in my dreams when she becomes silent.

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