Herewith an excellent article on Regaining Your Power – The Healing Potential Of Physical Fitness by Helen:
Those of us who have been through trauma will know that it can leave you feeling weak, vulnerable, and unempowered . It can also have serious mental health consequences , which may in turn impact negatively upon your physical health . If trauma survivors are to get their lives back on track, it is imperative that they take steps to both improve their health and increase their sense of personal power and agency. Perhaps surprisingly, many people have found that a simple physical fitness regime can be an extremely effective part of this process. We are more accustomed to hearing that more psychological techniques help to heal those whose minds and emotions have been damaged by trauma – but in fact, working on improving one’s body really can have tangible effects upon one’s state of mind .
Trauma survivors inevitably have a lot of mental baggage to work through. Any good therapist will tell you that coming to terms with what has happened to you and letting it go is a very important part of the healing process – but it’s by no means easy to do. In many cases of trauma, the mind begins to work against itself, getting stuck in vicious thought-loops and plunging the victim into endless cycles of rumination. Things like self-forgiveness and acceptance – already a long and complex process  – thus become even harder to achieve. Exercise, however, can (for reasons which remain mysterious) help to free up this mental ‘dam’, and get thoughts flowing smoothly, cleanly, and productively through the brain. You are more likely to work through your issues and reach higher levels of understanding/acceptance while out on a walk than you are lying in your bed. Walking in particular is credited with promoting this kind of healthy, meditative thought  – but any kind of physical exercise is likely to help.
Vain though it may seem, improving our bodies really can improve the way in which we think of ourselves. Trauma survivors frequently suffer from a lot of undeserved shame and guilt , and may have trouble rebuilding their sense of identity after a traumatic event. Physical fitness – or working towards physical fitness – can help to improve self-image enormously. This is not merely in the superficial sense that one often looks better after embarking upon a fitness regime (although that does help!). It can also help trauma survivors to gain a sense of strength, self-empowerment, and achievement which is enormously valuable when struggling with the psychological after-effects of trauma.
The health benefits of physical fitness are enormous and plentiful . However, many of us miss the link between physical and mental health. It’s obviously good to be physically healthy, but not all of us are quite aware of just how much our physical state of health can affect our minds. Your brain is (of course) intrinsically connected to the rest of your body – so the health or otherwise of your body has a direct impact upon your brain’s ability to cope with and process things. If your body is fit and healthy, it will be able to get the nutrients that your brain needs up into your skull quickly and efficiently. It will also generally ensure that – with everything in your body running smoothly – your brain can dedicate more resources to psychological processing. All in all, a healthy body really can make a tangible difference to your state of mind. To nurture your body is to heal your mind – so set out for a walk, hop on your bike, head to the gym, or simply do some armchair aerobics. Your mind will thank you for it just as much as your body will!
 Emma Hutchison, Roland Bleiker, “Emotional Reconciliation: Reconstituting Identity and Community after Trauma”, European Journal of Social Theory, Aug 2008
 Canadian Women’s Health Network, “Making the links: Violence, trauma and mental health”
 Wendy D’Andrea, Ritu Sharma, Amanda D Zelechoski, Joseph Spinazzola, “Physical Health Problems After Single Trauma Exposure: When Stress Takes Root in the Body”, Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 2011
 Julian P Nolen, “The Role Of Physical Activity In Resilience To Psychological Trauma”, Colorado State University, 2013
 Jo Harvey, “Coloring Outside the Lines of Forgiveness”, Recovery.org, Mar 2015
 Ferris Jabr, “Why Walking Helps Us Think”, The New Yorker, Sept 2014
 John P Wilson, Boriz Drozdek, Silvana Turkovic, “Posttraumatic Shame and Guilt”, Journal of Trauma, Violence and Abuse, Apr 2006
 Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, “The Benefits of Physical Activity”