Exercise Helps Recovery from Hairpulling

Mother Nature’s tric stress buster

Tricsters have an arsenal of strategies to manage urges – from wearing fake nails to keeping hands busy with fidget toys. We spend so many waking hours fighting our compulsion that we deserve a break from the tension. The good news is that mother nature has given us the gift of stress relief through exercise. Think about it – how great do you feel after you’ve had a good workout? Here are a few of the documented benefits of exercise:

  • stress and depression buster
  • combats heart disease, diabetes, and several forms of cancer
  • burns calories to manage weight and fight obesity
  • improves sleep patterns
  • prolongs life. Yes, you will live longer!

Exercise is your ally in fighting the stress that overcomes trichotillomania sufferers. The endorphin boost you get from large motor activity, also known as the exerciser’s high, is nature’s anti-depressant. Drug companies have been trying for years to encapsulate this magical chemical combination. You can have it for free with no side effects. Here are inexpensive options to get fit quick:

  • go for a jog. Cheap and cheerful, just lace up your running shoes and head out the door
  • do you have a park nearby? Grab a friend and a ball, and go play soccer
  • join a gym. Gyms range from basic to spa like, and are happy to develop a personalize training program for you
  • join a team: volleyball, cycling, skiing, basketball. Any sport that makes you smile will do!

The point is to get your heart rate up to a level where you are nearly breathless – where talking is difficult – and keep it there for 25 minutes or more. You need to warm up for 5 minutes beforehand and cool down for 5 minutes after, for a total 35 minute investment. The best choices are activities you have already tried and enjoyed, and for which you have equipment handy. Ideally you should exercise 4 or 5 times a week. If you have a heart condition or other health concern you will want to check with your physician before starting.

Many of you don’t have time to fit a formal team sport or gym program into your crammed schedule. Study after study shows that just about any activity where you do not sit yields benefits so put the baby in a stroller and go for a brisk walk around the park.

Exercise, a proper diet and therapy are the cornerstones to pull freedom. Exercise keeps our hands below the waist (I can’t manage to pull while swimming) and improves our mental health. Best of all it’s fun and a great way to make friends!


Certified Exercise Instructor