Exercise and mood – leverage the connection!


Are your moody teenage years behind you?  Or do you find that how you feel each day is influenced by what you do?  Can rowing improve your mind as well as your body wellbeing?

We found this great interview with rowing coach, Mike Levitsky formerly of Rutgers University Crew and now Swan Creek Youth Rowing Club.

MT- When did you first realize a connection between exercise and your mood?

Coach Levitsky- I think I came into my own as an athlete and rower in my most difficult personal times. I had just gone through a breakup. I was bored, and not particularly into the whole party scene that was going on at my state university at the time.

And it was at this most difficult time I guess you could say I was feeling sad, uneasy and uncertain about the future. I had a little bit of a lost feeling, loneliness I guess you’d say. And so at this time, it would just be me, alone on an “erg” (rowing machine or ergometer). And it was here that I saw I could have this singular goal. A goal with lots of feedback, and evaluation, and a constant gauge of how I was doing. It helped to focus my thoughts in a positive way.

Once I had finished a workout, I could take a look around and see that I just did something that 98% of people couldn’t, or more so wouldn’t do.

He adds in some helpful advice for coaches and athletes about evaluation and how to use that in your training, negative (disabling) thoughts and in Part 2 of the interview he specifically shares his learnings from coaching children and their socialisation learnings alongside sport.


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