This is a post from Roger, a contributor to Dustin’s blog.

Elle Woods

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make people happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands…they just don’t.”–Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

A couple of months ago, Dustin posted a story and comments about why people exercise.  Well, this is one of the reasons why. 

Of course, I don’t mean I exercise so that I don’t murder my wife. What I do mean is that exercise releases endorphins that help contribute to a feeling of well being. For me, exercise is a perfect way to help deal with stress.

27 years ago (oh my gosh, 27 years ago!) I was a brand new teacher. I was new to Madison, had never lived far away from family and friends, and was starting a career with very little support. To help me deal with all this I used to stay at work until 7:00 pm or later and would arrive at least an hour before the kids arrived. This was actually very easy to do but as a 22 year old man I thought, “This is nuts. This can’t be good for me. I have to find a way to make myself leave work  earlier.”  The answer. Join a  health club and exercise.Not only did it get me to leave my classroom at a more reasonable time, I found it also helped me work off much of the anxiety and nerves that accompany being a new teacher.

I have exercised consistently since that time as a way to keep myself at an even keel. I have found that periods of time when I have fallen off track are also periods of time where I have found myself crankier and more depressed. When I find myself in those places, back to the gym I go.

Currently I find myself in a very challenging place. My wife and I have an extremely high special needs child. We knew he was special needs when we adopted him. We were contacted by an agency in Florida because there were not many families willing to adopt special needs children and they knew we were willing to welcome him into our lives. Well, he is now 13 and he is really a lovable boy but has many difficulties that weigh heavily on us. Additionally, we have a 17 year old daughter in her senior year. Need I say more?

To help combat this, we go to Dustin’s bootcamp. I was surprised to learn that there are other people in bootcamp that have special needs children as well. This is a time that lets us focus on ourselves for a while while helping reduce our stress levels. Going early in the morning also helps me feel much more relaxed while welcoming my students for the day. Also, last week I had my annual physical and my doctor was extremely happy with my blood pressure and resting heart rate, which he thought were amazing considering my circumstances. Must be the endorphins.