Many of us use the gym and exercise in a bid to stay in shape and keep our bodies fit but there are many other benefits exercise and physical activity can offer us. Exercise can have a huge impact on mental health and recent research from The Training Room, the leading educators of Personal Trainers (PTs) and fitness professionals, shows that more and more people are seeking advice from qualified PTs to help manage mental health issues. More than 55% of the PTs questioned reported that they are seeing an increase in clients approach them for help and support around mental health concerns.
There are countless studies which show that exercise provides some serious mental health benefits and here’s our guide to the top ones to be aware of!
Exercise reduces stress
We’ve all had those tough days at work, some more than others but if you can walk away and head to the gym, go for a run or simply go for a walk it will have a huge impact on your stress levels. Stress relief is one of the most common benefits for exercise.
Exercise makes you more productive
Exercise increases the amount of norepinephrine released, which is a chemical that moderates the brain’s response to stress. If you have a deadline to hit and you can’t concentrate or you have a pile of work to before you can leave work, having a work out will reduce the your stress levels and actually help you concentrate and perform better!
Endorphins are amazing!
Exercise can be hard – we admit it but the results and the natural high you feel afterwards are worth the early starts or the late nights. There are numerous studies, which have found that exercise is a natural mood improver and can help alleviate symptoms of mild depression. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise can have a huge impact on your mood.
You’re worth a million dollars
Being physically active can boost your self-esteem and improve your self image. Regardless of how much you weigh, what size, shape, age or gender you are, regular exercise can improve your own perception on how you look, your attractiveness and your self-worth.
The great outdoors
And if you feel you need an added boost of self-love why not take your work-out to the great outdoors. It’s believed that exercising outside can boost your self-esteem even further. Being in the fresh air will deliver your body a good dose of Vitamin D, which is known to lessen the chances of suffering from depression.
Old age doesn’t come alone
It’s a saying you’ve all probably heard but it’s unfortunately very true. As we age, we can lose brain function and degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s kill off brain cells. Although exercise and enjoying a healthy diet won’t be able to cure Alzheimer’s it can help to defend your brain against cognitive decline.
If you’re anxious
For many, the feelings of anxiety and tension can but all too common and for some, a glass of wine and a soak in the bath can help control these feelings. However, a walk or a jog is actually a far better anxiety buster. It will leave you feeling calmer for longer.
Exercise can help to control addiction
The brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which is known as the reward chemical and it’s produced in response to any form of pleasure. Unfortunately, some people become addicted to dopamine and dependent on the substances that produce it, like drugs or alcohol. Exercise can help when recovering from such addictions.
Have you ever noticed that you sleep better after you’ve been working out and exercising more? Many people find that a work out can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill even for people who suffer from insomnia. Exercising before bedtime raises the core temperature of your body and can aid the natural sleep cycle.
Be more creative
A decent work-out can stimulate and boost creativity for up to two hours post-workout. And if you need an extra creativity boost – exercising outdoors will stimulate your creative cells further and really get those creative juices flowing.
The way in which we exercise and with whom can also have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Research suggests that working out in a group setting has its advantages, resulting in significant improvements to physical, mental, and emotional measures. The research show that group settings are better when it comes to the psychological and emotional aspects of working out.
So there you have it. Exercise is not only great for your body it’s also very much needed for your mind too. Enjoying exercise on a regular basis can improve your self-confidence, your creativity, your brain function, it can help you sleep better and it can keep you happy! If that’s not a great set of reasons to start getting active, then what is?