52 Exercises: #6 Soccer

52 Exercises soccer

I have been in a black mood for a few months now. It’s no fun at all and tricky because my aim is to write upbeat positive words that inspire and uplift you. But lately I’ve been in need of some uplifting myself.

Part of the reason I started the 52 Exercises series is because exercise boosts my mood and regular exercise is essential for my mental health.

My morning beach walks just aren’t managing to get me to a happy place and keep me there for the rest of the day. So I thought more exercise, different forms of exercise and the company of new people might be just the jolt I needed.

Five weeks later nothing has improved. I still feel black. I’m teary and at 4.30pm today I was lying on my bed feeling depressed and even, finally, pushed by desperation, meditating for six whole minutes to see if that would help. It didn’t.

There are three main reasons I’m depressed:

  1. I’ve got ear-ache and a stiff jaw.
  2. I’m middle-aged.
  3. All my life I thought I had some special talent or would do something special but I’ve just realised I haven’t, that I’m average. Which sucks.

And that’s not all. This depression is making my other neuroses worse, in particular feelings of being a bad mother and all round loser who’s crippled by low self esteem with severe psychological problems, including a refusal to seek help or take prescribed drugs for mental health problems. You get the idea.

I was cursing this new 52 Exercises series where I have to try a new exercise every week for 52 weeks because it feels like a life sentence. You’d have thought I’d learnt my lesson from last year’s Blogging Tips A-Z series which nearly finished me off but no, muggins here decided to up the ante and create a series which lasts a whole bloody year.

Worst of all today I’d arranged to accompany my soccer-loving friend to women’s soccer. A game which I know very little about, have never played and which, in my horrible judgemental way, I believe to be the sole preserve of mean women who like kicking anything in their vicinity and have something to prove.

So it didn’t seem like soccer would be much fun.

It was a mad dash to get to pitch for the 6.30pm start time and I didn’t have the right gear. No football boots, no shin pads and my one pair of exercise shorts are looking distinctly baggy and unattractive.

After a mild panic session during which I flung everything out of my wardrobe I finally found my one pair of long socks in my small stash of winter-weather gear. I was tempted to don the gloves and scarf too because I know the goalie wears gloves and soccer fans wave scarves but I took mercy on my soccer-playing mate and left them at home.

What with all that palaver finding long socks I barely had time to check out my reflection in the mirror and notice that short shorts and long socks leave knobbly knees and cellulite horribly exposed.

Driving to the soccer pitch it wasn’t just my mood that was black. The sky darkened and a fierce wind picked up. After introducing myself to the other soccer players I noticed that the other women seemed to be in a bad mood too. Well, probably not as bad as mine but they certainly weren’t all chipper and friendly like the women who lead gym classes.

I will spare you details of all endless jogging round the pitch and soccer drills we had to do.

It would be impossible to describe  how exhausting the mini game of four a side possession was. Then, after an hour of those strenuous activities we all played a game which is when I thought I nearly vomited.

That’s the first time I’ve ever exercised to the point of feeling ill. But I didn’t held it down and even managed to score the first goal although no one else was excited about that as me.

Despite all that it’s with great regret that I now have to report that soccer is fun. Really, it is.

I thought people only played soccer because they get million dollar contracts and can shag all the big breasted Wags (Wives and Girlfriends) but now I’ve been educated.

I didn’t know what to do with my arms half the time when playing soccer (it’s so counter-intuitive not to use them), I kept giggling and squealing like a girl and someone quite heavy trod on me with their sharply pronged soccer boots. But despite all that I enjoyed myself. I did.

And so did the other women soccer players. We walked off the pitch cheerful and happy, parting ways like old friends.

It wasn’t just my black mood that lifted after a game of soccer, I think we were all feeling much sunnier after kicking that ball around.


My soccer strip (which means outfit not divesting of clothes…)

Soccer Exercise Review

Cost: $o – I got a free try out although I’m sure you have to pay if you sign up for the year and join the team.

Time Exercising: 90 minutes, for only 10 minutes of which my heart rate was below 120 bpm. In other words I got a heavy duty aerobic workout for 80 minutes.

Average Heart Rate: 137 bpm.

Peak Heart Rate: 193 – don’t try that yourselves folks, I’m not sure if it’s recommended and could have led to the nausea.

Calories Burned: 571 calories– A personal record.

Fun Factor: 9/10 – I was so busy keeping my eye on the ball and looking for ways to get my feet on it that all miseries melted away.

Fear Factor: 7/10 – I did feel like a bit of a berk but the soccer chicks were kind and patient in their attempts to teach me the game.

Post-exercise Glow: 10/10 – Although I got a bit over-stimulated and couldn’t get to sleep for ages.

Is soccer the new prozac? Have you ever played? How do you cope when you’re feeling down?

Click here for more episodes in the 52 Exercise quest.

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  1. se7en February 10, 2013 at 9:57 am - Reply

    Oh I hear you… the grim rut that sets in!!! And I love your enthusiastic dive into 52 weeks… and each week I am overwhelmed at your athletic ability… I have gone from sporty to sluggard and it took twenty years… morning walks and dragging kids up and down the mountain behind our house doesn’t make me any less sedentary… it is just sedentary with a couple of walks a week and nothing like the fitness that I would like to achieve… so I am reading your series with fascination – waiting to see what you discover and holding my breathe for inspiration… But today I am officially impressed – you chose to go to soccer… chose to launch yourself around a field at maximum speed for an hour and a half!!! I am so thrilled you survived… and loved it!!! Don’t give up – stick at it… this is a great weekly read!!!

    • Annabel Candy February 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm - Reply

      H Se7en,

      Kids will do that to you and your have quite a brood of them! I’ve never been sport and am definitely at the height of my sporting prowess and fitness right now. Sometimes it’s good to start from nothing :)

      Don’t be hard on yourself because you feel as if you’ve gone from sporty to sluggard. I know you can get your fitness back when you’re ready.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I will stick with it until I goad you into action too and look forward to hearing all about that. Staet small though – we don’t want to wear ourselves out and above all we have to be kind to ourselves and make sure it makes life more fun :)

  2. Seana February 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    193!!! 193!!! Jeeezus, I’d be DEAD. I think the highest my heart rate has ever gone is 169 and that nearly finished me off.

    FFS you mad woman, you are unique and special…. as an example, the travel writing you do on this blog is really unique for it’s humour.

    As a serial seeker of remediation for psychological difficulties… would you PLEASE get yourself off for some therapy. It can be so helpful to unwind issues and unravel oneself. And I need someone to talk to about developing in one’s 40’s (very late 40’s in my case). Did I tell you that I have stopped drinking completely, am expecting complete emotional meltdown at any moment and have gone prophylactically to see my tame psych already.

    Come on Annabel, you know it makes sense!

    And the soccer sounds a winner!! Rant over and out.

    • Annabel Candy February 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Seana,

      It nearly did me in too. Thanks so much for your lovely comments re my writing – that means a lot coming from you :)

      Yes you are right but I am determined to fix myself. Or better yet learn to live with and love myself just the way I am. I’ve given up drinking too and I think my editor is doubling up as my shrink… Poor ed!

  3. Andrea Martins February 10, 2013 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Hats off to you, Annabel! x

    • Annabel Candy February 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Andrea,

      Thank you. And that remined me about hat tricks (three goals in one game), that would have been good wouldn’t it?! Maybe I need to try again But maybe not :)

  4. Nikki @ Styling You February 11, 2013 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Oh Annabel, you are SO not average. Banish that thought. You are looked up to and respected. xx

  5. Trish Radge February 11, 2013 at 10:48 am - Reply

    This post has taught me so much about you, Annabel, and I really like your new voice. Your honesty is refreshing. And now for the big reveal…yes, I suffered from depression for a long time and refused to take medication. I also used exercise to cope, becoming a gym junky. I did recover but there are times when I get knocked flat again. Good on you for setting your 52 Sports goal as it could be exactly what you need to heal yourself.

    • Annabel Candy February 11, 2013 at 11:02 am - Reply

      Hi Trish,

      Great to hear from you and thank you for sharing your story too. I think experience with depression is more common than not among women and I am so happy that we can talk about it here because that really helps to normalise it.

      Like you there are good times and bad. I think those ups and downs are a normal part of life and something I need to learn to deal with.

      I have taken anti-depressants in the past but I prefer not too and have been managing my depression reasonably well without them for about 10 years. If it got dire I would definitely take them and totally recommend them to anyone who isn’t coping. They are life-savers and I mean that literally.

      Staying physically fit and over-coming challenges is important for my mental health, for everyone’s I think. So I want to be a living example of that and show that we can still be adventurous even if we’re not travelling. I know you jog regularly and wonder if that’s been a part of your healing?

      Either way, here’s to us all feeling better and getting better at taking care of ourselves every day :)

      • Trish Radge February 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

        Yes, I try to exercise every day. I started running when I had depression and it definitely helped. At the moment I am climbing the stairs at Hastings Street 3 mornings a week. Then I go for a swim (wade) on the beach. The exhaustion seems to clear my head. I sleep a lot too – at least 8 hours at night plus sometimes a nanna-nap after lunch.

  6. Chartreuse February 11, 2013 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    I hate to say it, but I really enjoyed this post. I mean I hate to appear to be saying your deprression pleased me. That’s certainly not what I mean. I just feel I hear a real voice here – one I can relate to. I have suffered from depression for most of my adult life. Sometimes I’ve been able to control it through things like action and exercise. More often I’ve needed outside help. When I didn’t get that – a long time ago, before I had even learned to call my state of mind by a technical name and no one spoke openly about it or aboult any therapies or medications – I experienced some very bad scenarios from which I am grateful I came out alive. Now I am almost always on medication. I also try not to drink or, because I can’t bear the thought of going without my beloved pinot grigio forever, to drink very little and not often. I don’t know if depression is more common among women than men. If it is, I can think of a lot of reasons why that might be so. But then again, maybe we’re just more honest about that as we are about so many other things. Do what you have to do, but being well in mind is more important than feeling you have to do it all on your own, without human or chemical intervention. Your kids probably care more about how you seem than how you got there.

    • Annabel Candy February 12, 2013 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Hi Chartreuse,

      That’s great news – you are supposed to enjoy it and thank you for the feedback:)

      Very interested to read about your experiences and I will be thinking about your point more. The last line is worrying me with its truth. I hope I’m doing the right thing for my children but I’m also careful to put myself first because prioritising them above me only makes things worse.

      I actually believe I’m very good at hiding my feelings from my kids and carrying on regardless but I’m going to check with other people to see if they agree with that. I also don’t think I’m depressed enough to warrant taking anti-depressants right now and am hoping to keep it that way.

      Thank you for making me think and delve more deeply.

  7. Johanna at ZigaZag WA Travel & Lifestyle February 12, 2013 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel, What a wonderful, honest and forthright post without being gushy or over sentimental. But Hey! You are so NOT average. So many people look up to you and your reach is much wider than you imagine. Concentrate on your little triumphs – they are actually big ones and sticking to 52 different forms of exercise/sport over a year is a huge commitment and should be well rewarded :) Loving your posts.

    • Annabel Candy February 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Johanna,

      Thank you :) It’s a tricky one because I do believe everyone is special. I tell my children they are. But if we’re all special we’re all normal/average aren’t we?!

  8. Di Riddell February 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel, what a great post and such a lift for anyone feeling depression. I have had my bout and understand how difficult it is to take the steps to move. Congratulations!

    I thought you were being so hard on yourself – and I know I have been there also.

    Your openness in sharing is a delight and inspirational for others. Cheers Di

    And I may even catch up with you at Maureen’s Saturday of you are going…

    • Annabel Candy February 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm - Reply

      Hi Di,

      Great to see you here and thank you for that. I wish depression didn’t exist but since it does so glad we can admit that it hits us too.

  9. Kama February 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Exercise really is helpful for battling depression. I hope you find it helps long term. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly what others are also feeling. You are not alone x

  10. Jen Gresham February 15, 2013 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Ha! Average? No talent? Look, you were the one I looked up to and followed first when I got into this crazy blogging business. And I still learn so much from you. In addition, you have a heart the size of the ocean. Tell your depression to stuff it.

    Seriously, I don’t know all you’re dealing with, but if psychological help is the way for. But I think you’re also not giving yourself credit for all you’ve done. Maybe take an afternoon (when you’re not kicking things) and write down all the things you’re proud of, both large and small. Set a timer and don’t stop for 30 minutes. Force yourself to be as objective as you can. Then when you’re done, celebrate it. Maybe share with your family and have them help you celebrate. You might even have them brainstorm things they’re proud of you for. Make it fun.

    Enough preaching from me. I hope that helps. You’re very loved and appreciated. Glad to hear that a good kick in the grass helps too. :)

    • Annabel Candy February 16, 2013 at 7:30 am - Reply

      Hi Jen,

      Ah that’s lovely and what a good idea. Thank heavens I still feel much better now. But trying to learn to live with life’s ups and downs and share them all here.

      I appreciate YOU too :)

  11. Ros McLaughlin February 16, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel, Thanks for your really lovely story. To bear yourself and your story takes much courage. I have been in depression too when I had young children. It certainly is a very difficult time. I visited my doctor at the time and told him about my depression and, much to his credit, he told me he did not like all the strong medications out there and their side effects. He refused to put me on any and he prescribed the natural alternative, St Johns Wort. It took about 6 weeks to take effect, but it eventually did (Boy was that a long six weeks!). It was very subtle in its helping of the mind and body to cope. I stayed on that until my body told me I no longer needed assistance, and that I could cope on my own, I think that was about a year. I think your 52 week challenge is extraordinary and good on you. Fantastic actually and really inspiring considering the darkness you have to drag yourself from to achieve all that. much love and support is sent your way

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