I am a member at Planet Fitness. Go ahead. Judge me. I've heard the stories about pizza night, bagel day, lack of good machines and heavy dumbbells and that nice "lunk" alarm. Yup, the stories are all true. To my defense, I had no choice but to join. It was the only gym nearby and all I really needed it for was to bust out my morning cardio sessions really. Oh, and I swear I never touched their pizza. Really.
The gym I am true die-hard member of is Gold's. The one I frequent has an amazing atmosphere and that's where I get my lifting done followed by my cardio session. When I lived closer, I did my morning cardio there as well. But the drive back and forth had become tedious so I had made my trips to Planet Fitness a bit more frequent. Here's what I noticed - I had a very difficult time getting 30, let alone 45 minute cardio sessions or any workout done without feeling drained and like I was...I don't know how to explain it, like my soul and my spirit were, for lack of better terms, dead. I tried going at different times of the day, well rested, with food, without food, yet it appeared to me that the results were the same. Then I noticed how even at my most fatigued, and despite the almost 30 minute drive whenever I lifted at Gold's I was able to get through a workout rather chipper, AND an hour cardio session without complaints. Was there something wrong with me? Was it the atmosphere? Then I decided to go with another theory. The lighting at Planet Fitness, at least the one I go to, sucks. I feel like I'm walking through pure darkness and the lighting used in there is very dreary and loathing. I also found that the purple was perhaps not the best choice of color to brand the gym with. At least not that hue of purple. The area where the cardio machines are is not well lit either. I can go on and on. At Gold's the bright yellow sends me a message of brightness and welcoming of daylight (even if it's a night). The lights are bright, very bright and I find that they are placed just in the right places. This observation got me thinking more and more about how light affects our mood. My kids constantly make fun of me for always turning on lights and wanting whatever space I walk into bright...very bright. Yes, 100W light bulbs. It makes me feel happy. There is some literature out there on lighting but the one sure thing you'll find that's related is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Light therapy is often used to treat this disorder and for good reason as I do believe that bright lights and sunlight can immediately affect your mood. As it's been clear in my case with my inability to even get a workout done at Planet Fitness without wanting to cry. And I kid you not, sometimes I just get on there and start thinking about my life and ...tears just roll. How pitiful is that?!
I have been studying and reading a lot about Chakras and it led me into learning about color therapy and how it can be used to heal. Similar to light therapy, color therapy can be used to balance the energy within your body and spirit and lift your mood, the same way light therapy can.
If you are feeling down or experiencing some depression, I highly encourage you to try incorporating some color and light therapy into your lives. It is a way of life for me as I often use certain colors to lift my mood as well as make sure I get out during the day to experience sunlight. I feel most energetic and accomplished when I'm out and about when the sun's out. If I'm not, my entire system is thrown off balance and out of whack. Use brighter colors in your clothing and living spaces. Use different lighting to give a nice welcoming and uplifting mood. If you are feeling romantic, you can always turn the lights off and use candles instead!
I hope sharing my experience was useful and shed some light (pun intended) into this topic. I am excited to learn more and if any of you have any useful information or links please share!