Bipolar Disorder: Is Exercise The Alternative?


For as long as Tom Ryan can remember–he’s been on the run because it makes him feel good. He’s hard charging with mood swings–high and lows like you wouldn’t believe.

Professionally he’s done great and even formed his competition company called Dallas Athletes Racing.

Lucky for Tom because that is also how he received a preliminary diagnosis.

“About three and a half years ago one of the members of Dallas Athletes who is a physician said Tom, I think you’re bipolar,” Tom recalled.

Soon after he was officially diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and depression.

“I’ve got a nice cocktail of mental illness going on,” Tom said with a smile.

Since then he and his doctors have experimented with medications and like bipolar disorder–the meds have their ups and downs.

“Am I a big believer in the medication working for some people? Yeah. It works magically,” Tom said.  “Does it work magically for me? I would have to say no, it doesn’t work magically for me.”

So what magically works for Tom?


“I’m smart enough to know that that I always feel better after a workout,” Tom said.

Psychotherapist Dean Aslinia is the Medical Director and at New Horizons Center for Healing in McKinney, TX.

Dr. Aslinia said how Tom feels after exercise is backed by science.

“What happens with running is you and up releasing a lot of endorphins in the brain and neurotransmitters in the brain,” Dr. Aslinia said. “These are our feel good transmitters and so that greatly impacts how someone feels and is therefore able to regulate their emotions.”

Dr. Aslinia is quick to point out that exercise alone isn’t enough—the combination of medicine, therapy and exercise is the best treatment plan.

“In Tom’s case it seems exercising is doing amazing things for him and that is wonderful to hear, however, that is not what we are seeing that only if you do exercises will get the same results,” Dr. Aslinia said. “That unfortunately hasn’t been seen just yet in research.”

Tom is on a mission to drag bipolar disorder from darkness to daylight and has formed a charity called and to fund the charity he just finished the first ever disco run.

His alternative? Keep moving. A lot.

“I mean if you want to talk crazy, let’s talk crazy. It’s everywhere,” Tom said. “There is no lack of people with mental illness in this country.”


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