Health benefits of exercise
Exercise can have a huge impact on your overall health and wellbeing. As well as helping you to keep fit, strong and healthy, it can also help to manage stress and improve your mental wellbeing.
In light of Stress Awareness Month, here are some reasons why moving a little more can help with your mental wellbeing, and what our members have to say about their mental health since working out in the gym.
"Going to the gym serves as a diversional therapy away from stress. It gives me focus. PureGym is like my safe house where I go to recharge."Francis
I was able to see I was suffering with mental health issues, and get these addressed. I have tackled addictions, completed marathons, and have a new life I never knew was possible. I have not felt this happy in such a long time and I couldn't have done it without Pure Gym.Abbie Dillon
"My top tip for dealing with stress is simple meditation. Go sit somewhere quiet for 5 minutes, concentrate on your breathing. This can help to take your mind off the issues that are affecting you. After this you will be able to think much more clearly and without stress clouding your judgement."Chris Wilde
PT, PureGym Leeds City Centre North
Since starting going to the gym, I feel more positive about myself, which has also had a positive impact on how I feel about the other parts of my life.Dr Alison Evans
Exercising has helped me to overcome severe social anxiety and build long-lasting confidence in myself.Stephen Lynch
I like exercise to relieve stress and improve my wellbeing. I'm much happier and more confident in my own skin than I was before I joined the gym.Sonia Groves
For me exercise is a great reliever of stress and anxiety. This last month I’ve had a massive amount of it (some very personal reasons), and without the gym and training, it would have taken its toll. Walking in to a gym helps me massively.Paul Joseph
PT at PureGym London Park Royal
“Stress comes with life, it is how you decide to deal with the stress that impacts you mentally. A stronger body will equal a stronger mind and a stronger mind will equal a stronger body. Exercise, eat food that makes you feel great and most importantly - laugh.”Danny Mulholland
PT at PureGym East Kilbride
Exercising is a great stress-buster
Exercise is also a great way to combat stress. Working out helps deplete the body of its stress hormones, which have a negative impact on your health. After a hard day at work, a good session will help you to feel energised and relaxed. Taking up a competitive sport is also useful as a way to combat stress, and push yourself to train harder. If you’re focused on beating an opponent, you’re likely to forget about the stress in your life.
And it's also good for the mind and body
Exercise is as much a workout for the mind as it is the body. Every time you exercise, the body releases mood-enhancing chemicals. These endorphins are often called the happy hormones. Whether you are doing cardiovascular exercise or strength work, your body will produce these endorphins, which leads to feelings of happiness and euphoria. As a result, many people use exercise to help control depression.
It can also help to improve brain function
Scientific studies have linked exercise to improved brain function and improvements in learning and memory. Endurance exercise has been shown to release a hormone called irisin, which has an impact on the brain, particularly the part controlling learning.
Alongside mental benefits,you can also reap the following benefits:
Exercise strengthens all of the tissues in the body. As well as improving cardiovascular fitness, it builds muscles and connective tissue. It will improve your mobility, while also reducing your chance of injury.
Reducing the risk of major health conditions
Taking regular exercise is the best way to reduce your chances of getting conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. According to the Department of Health, it can reduce your chances of type 2 diabetes by 40%, cardiovascular disease by 35%, falls, depression and dementia by 30%, joint and back pain by 25%, and cancers (colon and breast) by 20% (source: UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines 2011).
A better night’s sleep
If you struggle to get to sleep at night, don’t despair because exercise is great for insomnia. If you exercise regularly, you may notice that your quality of sleep improves. The time it takes you to get to sleep may decrease, especially following an evening workout. During the day you may feel less sleepy, and more energised.
Improving reproductive health
If you’re trying to start a family, then exercise can help. Working out regularly may improve reproductive health and reduce the risk of infertility. According to a study from the University of North Carolina, women who were more active before fertility treatment were three times more likely to conceive as women who were least active.
Helping recovery from cancer and other diseases
A healthy diet and exercise can be very effective in helping people who are recovering from cancer and other diseases. Obviously, the amount of exercise a person can do depends on what they are recovering from, but it can help recovery by building muscle mass and strength.
Whatever your age or fitness ability, exercise will help improve your health now and in the future.
For more tips on how to keep your stress levels down, check out this blog.
Want to get active but not sure where to start? Check out our free workouts page for ideas on how you can train your body here.