In my story there may be an angle in support of exercise contributing to well being.
I remember thinking in my teens that I always wanted to stay fit. It was in watching my dad work so hard to support his family at the expense of his health, and then coming upon pictures of him as a teenager. He was a basketball player and obviously a pretty good one, but in my lifetime I never once saw him pick up a basketball. He golfed, and that was his only form of fitness. It was a heck of a lot better than being sedentary, but I never saw him really value athleticism, and I found that curious.
Then in my late 20s I started having to come to terms with the destructive drinking I was doing. I was monstrously fit but also becoming an alcoholic. In my early 30s when my health started to become impacted and a number of other issues came together to convince me to quit drinking, I used long walks as one of my main strategies to stay sober. I couldn’t run for a few years due to a badly broken leg, so I walked.
Slowly at first and then gradually added vigor. After about a year I started to add pushups and yoga poses along with conscious deep breathing.
The weight that I had gained from drinking fell off. Heart palpitations faded. That badly broken leg which had been mostly numb after 10 surgeries got normal sensation back, even with an ankle that had a permanent loss of normal range of motion.
Eventually I started to play basketball again and even high jumped a little, after learning how to leap off my opposite leg.
My resting heart rate fell into the 50s, something it never had done in my earlier athletic years.
And probably the most interesting thing for me, those morning walks started to directly impact all the anxiety I had around my sobriety.
I had been told by a physician when I was 30 that I couldn’t survive more than 2 more years if I continued to drink, and I’m pretty sure he was right.
So a basic, simple exercise regimen not only helped me to address an addiction, it greatly improved my overall health levels, and has actually given me an extra couple of decades on the planet so far, at 56, and still counting.