Recently on our Facebook group, the topic about general health and exercise was discussed, and how, as Trans individuals, we have found creative ways to keep our bodies and minds fit within our set of unique circumstances.
Two recurring themes came up, one was due to HRT many have to work really hard to keep weight under control, and the other because of dysphoria many Trans individuals find it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to be able to go outside to exercise. Never mind the scary thought of having to go into a gym. As can be well imagined putting these two together is totally counterproductive, add to that the fact that any Trans woman that would want to go for GRS would have to be under a certain BMI to get surgery.
Different Types of Exercise
Overall during the discussion quite a wide range of exercises came up these included cycling, running, walking, dancing, swimming, yoga, Pilates and the occasional trip to the gym. Safety was also mentioned that it was best to try and take a friend while doing outdoor exercises, also if you are doing cycling running and so on to know your route and if you are doing this alone to let somebody know what you will be doing.
During the discussion a lot of individuals mentioned going out and walking, this not only had the added benefit of being able to burn up calories but also gave individuals the chance of getting fresh air and change of environment, which helped to clear their minds and give the added ability to focus better.
Dancing also came up as a way of keeping fit also had the added benefit of the ability of socializing and also gave a change of environment. This also worked well for many age groups as movement and pace is controlled by the individual.
Swimming was also mentioned, also with both London (TAGS) and Brighton having Trans swimming groups this is a good opportunity for many individuals in these areas to get the added benefit of being able to swim without feeling exposed.
The ability to do exercise via gaming consoles also came into the discussion as both the Xbox and the Wii consoles have some nice exercise games. These also give the added benefit of not having to go outside as this can be an issue due to dysphoria.
Having the ability to also control the amount of daily calories also had a great benefit to many individuals. Also eating less processed foods and more healthy alternatives like fruit and veg can also have a great benefit on individual’s health and well-being.
Within the discussion the use of calorie count apps came up. This App has the ability to calorie count for you, making it easier to understand daily calorie intake.
Exercise for Mental Health
Also brought into the discussion was the added benefit of exercise is good for mental health.
Some people talked about running using apps like zombie run to help with motivation. Others found running peaceful giving them the ability to think clearly, also the sense of well-being and the warm afterglow from exercise, what is known as the runners high.
This state of euphoria, is due to the brain being flooded with endorphins and serotonin as well as several other chemicals the body produces during extended levels of exercise. Thought called the runners high this can also be achieved via other workouts, from swimming, gym, biking and so on.
Physical activity helps to reduce levels of anxiety, depression, stress and improve the overall well-being as well as helping to maintain bone and muscle density, which in turn helps to maintain a healthy and well body. Also physical activity helps promote and maintain healthy sleeping routines.
In conclusion, it was agreed that exercise and physical activity has a lot of added benefits for us as Trans individuals and it is up to us to try and keep our bodies and minds as healthy as possible.