When we think of working out and joining a gym, our mind immediately races to the picturesque body we all hope to achieve and all the other wonderful physical attributes it brings! However, the benefits of fitness extend far beyond simply just the physical abilities! Leading a healthy lifestyle, fitting in the perfect workout regime, eating healthy foods and being overall health conscious plays a key role in enhancing your mental health in ways we may not be fully aware of!
- Depression – When we hit roadblocks and obstacles in our life, it’s easy to think the world is against you and fall into depressive habits to cope. These habits and thoughts quickly build up and end up holding us back from accomplish all that we are meant to. However, working out can help treat some of these issues, sometimes just as much as medication. Studies have shown that a regular workout regime can help treat some depressive habits, as it helps pump healthy endorphins that promote an overall feeling of well-being. These endorphins help lift your mood and eventually can lead to beneficial changes in brain chemistry.
- Stress – Stress is one of the biggest silent killers in our society, as having too much of it can lead to heart failure, weakened immune system and so much more. However, exercise is one of the BEST remedies for to cure this silent monster. A workout routine that pushes your body to the limits and works up your heart rate will help promote relaxation and breathing that lessen the physical effects of stress including a tight chest, muscle cramps, pounding pulse, etc. When your body feels better your mind follows suite, as the mind and body are closely connected!
- ADHD / Concentration – Regular exercise is also known as one of the easiest, and BEST ways to help reduce symptoms of ADHD with concentration! Exercise helps improve issues that are commonly associated with ADHD including concentration, motivation, memory and overall mood! The serotonin inducing hormones that boost your mood, are also directly correlated with improving memory and attention! Similar to an ADHD medication, these hormones that are pumped out each workout session helps the mind focus and become more clear, controlled and healthier!
- Trauma – If you have been unlucky enough to experience pain or trauma in your life then perhaps you should turn towards exercise for relief. Studies show that focusing on the betterment of your body and the physical sensations that come with working out can help bring your attention away from these negative thoughts and offer a healthy way to deal with the debilitating stress that is commonly characterise PTSD.
Focusing on your body almost acts as a form of mindfulness therapy that helps take your thoughts away from those triggering experiences straight to your movements.
- Prevent Cognitive Decline / Boost Brain Power – It’s inevitable fact of life, at some point we all age. Even though this is something that can’t be cured, exercise can help lessen its effects. It has been showing that working out between the ages of 25-45 help strengthen the brain chemicals that prevent memory and mental decline.
For the same token, fitness will help BOOST brain power, as a sweat inducing workout helps to increase the levels of a brain-derived protein, which are directly associated with higher thinking, learning, memory, etc.
- Self Esteem / Self Image – When your body physically becomes stronger and healthier, you begin mentally feel the same! A regular workout regime that helps increase your body’s physical abilities helps generate a sense of confidence and achievement, which lead to better self worth and esteem. As well exercise serves as a healthy coping mechanism for overcoming difficulties in your life. Instead of turning towards artificial enhancers, such as alcohol or other negative behavioural patterns, you should turn towards a healthy fitness routine that will make you feel better about yourself both physically and mentally.
- Being a part of a community – Being part of a gym, team or class allows you to immerse yourself in a supportive community of like minded people who are encouraging positive behaviours in your life.
Being part of a community leads to a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing, as it evokes a sense of belonging that all humans strive for. It also can also lead to meaningful relationships and interactions that help promote well being as well. Not to mention sometimes it’s healthy just to be physically around other people and get out of your own head!
There is so much more to fitness than simply physical abilities, a healthy lifestyle can revolutionise your life from the inside out! Start your own fitness journey and starting changing your life today!