Many of us know the various physical health benefits of working out such as weight control, lower blood pressure, and increased energy.
But did you know that there are many mental health benefits that can come from exercise? From easing symptoms of depression and anxiety to keeping your memory sharp, there’s really no shortages of mental health benefits from working out.
So, if you needed any more reasons to get your butt to the gym, keep reading to find out some of the ways working out can improve your mental health.
Mental Health Benefits of Working Out
There has been a lot of research put into understanding the links between exercise and its impact on our mental and emotional well-being. Some of the positive mental health benefits of working out include:
Exercise can ease symptoms of depression
Working out has been a tried and tested mood booster, decreasing symptoms of both depression and anxiety.
Engaging in physical activity kicks up endorphin levels, the body’s feel good chemical produced by the brain which produces feelings of happiness and euphoria. Even just moderate amounts of exercise throughout the week can improve one’s mood quite significantly.
Working out is a powerful depression fighter for many reasons. In one’s body, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calmness and well-being. Physical exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that often feeds depression.
Reduce feelings of anxiety
Working out is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins in the body.
Anything that gets you moving can help. When you are moving you can focus on the way you feel, or what is actually happening when you exercise. You can try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin.
When working out, focus on your body and how it feels as you exercise, and you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your mind.
Find relief from stress
Have you ever noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress? Your muscles may be tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches. You may feel a tightness in your chest, a pounding pulse, or may also experience problems such as insomnia, heartburn, stomachache, diarrhea, or frequent urination.
The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms you’re experiencing can in turn lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between your mind and body. Working out is an effective way to break this cycle. As well as releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.
Boost your self-esteem
Working out can grant many physical benefits – from improving endurance to losing weight and increasing muscle tone, there’s no shortage of physical achievements that come about from regular exercise. All those achievements can add up to a whopping boost of self-esteem, and the confidence that comes with it.
This happens before you even realize it. It’s just one of the many benefits of physical activity that could boost your body, mind, and spirit. Regularly working out often becomes a habit, and it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful. While you might have gotten started to feel better about your appearance, but as you get stronger and achieve more, even small exercise goals, the sense of achievement you feel is extraordinary.
You’ll sleep better
If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, exercise can help with that. Working out increases your body temperature, which can have calming effects on the mind, leading to a better sleep. Exercise also helps regulate your circadian rhythm, our built-in alarm clock that controls when we feel tired and when we feel alert.
Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to work out at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep as well.
Increases energy and resilience
Sounds crazy but you gotta use energy to gain energy!
Working out could help you energy-wise. Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you that added spark in your steps, and that extra jump in your alertness.
Start off with just a few minutes of exercise per day and increase your workout as you feel more energized. When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, working out can also help you build resilience and cope in a healthy way instead of resorting to negative behaviours that ultimately only make your symptoms worse. Regular exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress as well.
Learn more about other benefits of regular exercise!
Improve Your Physical and Mental health at Rec Xpress!
Regularly working out, either at home or in the gym, can have a profoundly positive impact on one’s mental health. It could also relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better, and boost your overall mood.
You don’t even have to be a fitness enthusiast to reap the benefits of this. Even modest amounts of working out can make a real difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use working out as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life.
If you’re looking for a place to work out, why not come see us at Rec Xpress. We’ve got 6 gyms throughout the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne and from only $12.95 a week, you can enjoy access to our gyms 24/7. If you want to find out more, click here to read about our memberships!