How does exercise improve our mental health?

How does exercise improve our mental health?

The fitness industry has for long focused on the physical benefits of consistent exercise, such as increased muscle mass, endurance, improved cardiovascular health and other metabolic effects.

However, an often overlooked, but equally significant, area of improvement most regular gym-goers report is improved mental health. So, is this really the case and why does it occur?

Improved Sleep

It’s well known that sleep and mood are closely related. You probably notice in yourself what a difference a good night’s sleep can make in the way you carry yourself and in your interactions with others.

And the great part about exercise is that it can improve your sleep quality! If you have trouble falling asleep you may be surprised by what exercise can do to help improve this part of your life. The effects of good sleep will slowly trickle into all areas of your life and help you be the best version of yourself.

Social Interaction

Have you noticed working out from home just isn’t quite the same? It may be because part of the positive effects that come from being around other people!

Even if you don’t engage in conversation with other members or staff, a simple “hi” as you walk through the doors, a smile from a stranger or asking how many more sets someone has left on a machine all add up and play a part in keeping us feel part of a community. This feeling of togetherness and belonging is a core element of good “mental hygiene.”

Stress relief

Stressful day at work? An exercise session may be just what you need to put a pause or even a full stop on the cycle of negative thoughts running through your mind. It is a time to focus on yourself, both mentally and physically.

Putting a halt to the cycle of negative thoughts and feelings allows us to process them and turn a new leaf. Once we are able to work through the short term emotions we can approach life’s problems in a better frame of mind which, in turn, supports long term mental health!

Boost Self-Esteem

What feels better than reaching a goal? The gym gives us the tools and space to achieve quantifiable goals, both big and small. Sometimes life gets in the way of our emotional well-being but coming into the gym and seeing that you’re getting stronger or moving faster can act as a catalyst for a better day, week or month.

Our self-esteem is how we view ourselves and so making time for our physical and mental health tell your brain that you matter most and are capable of achieving your dreams even outside of MOVATI’s walls.

So, how much do you need?

The recommendations are to set aside about 30 minutes in your day, 3-5 times a week to notice improvements in mental health, particularly with anxiety and depression. Even if you can’t make it into the gym 3-5 times a week, pairing gym workouts with outdoor walks and leisurely activity can also help you reap the benefits.

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