Exercise really works

Before the burnout, I had an average condition. I exercised, ran fast, went mountain biking, cycled to work, walked the Pieterpad, and was busy with the children. I also had the idea that I was doing well and healthy by doing that regularly.

However, in the weeks before my burnout, I noticed that my body started to behave differently. I had a lot of muscle pain, my stomach suffered and just couldn’t exercise anymore. A 3 km run was already too much. Then I ran less than 200 meters and had to go for a walk because it didn’t work. I just felt flu-like and lame.

Unsurprisingly, the lack of energy was the cause. Sports, that was no longer an issue. I had to recharge before I could continue.

But could I not move at all? Did I have to stay on the couch? The answer is yes and no. Because real sports were no longer possible. But moving and especially being outside was good.

Own experience “A healthy person lives in a fit body!!” I thought, even during my burnout. So I went (despite the story above) still running and mountain biking. So that didn’t go well at all. My body protested in every way. Sports that was no longer an issue. I thought that was a great pity.


I had read somewhere that exercise is good for your mind. Because you move, substances are created that make you feel better. In addition, you will use other parts of the brain due to the active posture so that you will worry less.

Well, that seemed like something to me. In the end, that was true. So don’t exercise. I really had no energy for that, no move quietly, slowly, and preferably outside.

How that went I describe below.



To get me out of the house, my in-laws had given me an e-bike. Although it was the old e-bike of my mother-in-law and not hip at all (with panniers and all.), it turned out to be a very nice action. With an e-bike I could cycle a bit. But without resistance. So then I was cycling anyway and I experienced all the benefits of it without enormous effort. So that went well.


In addition to e-biking, I also went hiking. Calm down and at most half an hour. That may have seemed a bit dull, but it worked. Because of the walk I came outside, so all kinds of other stimuli came at me, which shifted my thoughts. Also, after walking for a while (15 minutes) I noticed that I started to get used to moving and that my blood started to flow faster. Because of this (I had the feeling) it seemed as if other substances were being made in my head. More positive.


I also started with the Netherlands in motion. A tv program intended for people who want to do something about their physicality in an accessible way. The great thing about this program is that you can decide for yourself what you do and do not do. If you feel better, you are extra hard, you are drowsy you do less.

I made sure that I went cycling and walking at fixed and especially quiet moments. We live in a somewhat larger city (Nijmegen) and there it can sometimes be quite busy. So, I wanted to avoid that.

I also often cycled and walked a fixed route. So I didn’t have to think about where to go. And I always took a banana with me when I walked and cycled. For when I would feel faint, I always had an energy boost on hand.



I noticed quickly that this exercise had a very good effect on my recovery. Especially the coming out of my head I found really striking. No matter how heavy the thoughts were and how bad I felt, usually after a walk many thoughts were gone, and I felt less rotten.

Because I really experienced this as positive, I included it as a solidity in my daily rhythm.

Every day I went for a walk between 9.30-10.30. My regular round (Green Platform in Nijmegen). I always did, or it was raining, snowing, no matter how I felt. All the time. Without pressure, just moving without having to do anything.


I let E-biking and The Netherlands in Motion depend on my mood. If I felt like it and still wanted to go out, I cycled a bit through the area (usually in the afternoon). But did I not feel like it, or did I want to sleep id. then I didn’t. This also applied to the Netherlands in Motion. Again, I let my mood depend on whether I did or not.



By walking I had the opportunity to get out of my head. And to let a fresh wind blow through my head. My mind changed with walking.

What worked extra well was that I did that alone. I just wanted to let my thoughts run wild. That worked excellently and certainly contributed to growing out of the burnout.



Because my thoughts shifted, I became more confident in my recovery. I really felt that I came back differently after such a walk. The trust I put on this; I still take with me.

The walking is now so ingrained that I still do it. Every night I make a detour to process the day and to organize my thoughts. Regularly someone goes with it. My wife or one of my children, but I only like the best….


What is positive?

When you move, you are less in your head. You see, smell, hear, experience other things than thinking about your burnout. This will help you in your recovery. It is also a gauge of how you are doing. Can you already do more or less. In addition, it is just nice to walk in the sun and be in the open air.


  1. Incorporate exercise into your daily schedule and make it a regular part of your day
  2. Buy a (second-hand) e bike and alternate cycling with walking.
  3. Go outside when there is less traffic. At certain times it is unpleasantly busy, you can avoid that.
  4. Preferably go alone, then you can better clear the head.
  5. Don’t put pressure on performance. So don’t buy a smartwatch with a pedometer, or a detour of app id.
  6. Provide fixed routes. Then you don’t have to think about it
  7. Always bring something to eat, no matter how short the walk is. That gives confidence, especially in the beginning

Don’t give up!!

Maybe you think (like me in the beginning): I must make sure I’m in good shape. Very simple: you can forget that now.

You have no energy, so you do not have the energy to finish a nice tight training program. So don’t put pressure on yourself or blame yourself for not being able to do this right now. You have a burnout, that seems challenge enough!!

For now, you should see exercise primarily to: – clear your head, – go outside and to come to other thoughts. That’s all.

In time, that will come back though. I’m working out again now and you’ll do that again soon.