The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Here at PureGym we’re passionate about the incredible benefits of spending time on your fitness and wellbeing. The positive physical effects of regular exercise are wide ranging and regularly discussed, from boosting your heart strength to reducing your risk of injury.
But there’s plenty more to fitness than boosting your strength or changing your physical health - exercise can have incredible positive effects on mental health as well. Regular exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on anxiety, depression, stress, ADHD and more. It’s mood-boosting effect can help to improve sleep, build confidence and help give you personal goals to work towards.
Want to know more about how going to the gym can have a benefit on your psychological well being? Read on.
Exercise releases happy hormones
As you work out, different chemicals get released into your body; one example of these is endorphins, which are produced by the central nervous system. These work with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce the sensation of pain and provide a boost of positivity and pleasure. This can lead to a feeling of post-workout euphoria that’s a natural and healthy way to feel good.
As a result, working out regularly can aid as a treatment towards mild and moderate depression, as well as helping to battle anxiety and stress. Incorporating exercise into your weekly routine can help to keep the your mental health in check.
Working out can improve your sleep
If we don’t get a good night’s sleep, chances are we’re more likely to feel sad, stressed, anxious or angry, with tiredness really taking its toll on our emotional health. A series of recent studies have shown that regular exercise can help make sure your body and mind are well rested come morning. Examples of ways this can occur are:
- Improving sleep quality
- Reducing sleep apnoea
- Shortening the time it takes to fall asleep
As a result of all of these, insomnia and sleep-associated anxiety are minimised, meaning it’s easier to nod off and wake up feeling refreshed.
Find out more about how the gym can help you sleep better with our guide.
Going to the gym can help you be a part of a community
As we know now more than ever, feeling isolated can have a negative effect on many aspects of our mental health, from loneliness to lack of motivation. Regular gym sessions are not only a way to keep you active, but can also help in creating a routine and structure to your day, along with being with the presence of other gym goers, albeit from a social distance.
Setting goals in the gym can give you direction
There can be a catch-22 when it comes to mental health and motivation - losing your ‘get up and go’ and your drive to achieve can lead to all sorts of emotional unhappiness, which in turn can make it harder to get out of bed and push for fitness. Recreating lost motivation isn’t easy, but there are ways to challenge yourself, including setting goals. Long term goals are great, but shorter-term, more achievable objectives can be an excellent way to get yourself back to the gym.
Not only can goal-setting help get you to the gym in the first place, but it gives you something to strive towards and, most importantly, achievements to celebrate - awesome reasons to feel genuinely proud of yourself.
Check out our guide to building healthy habits for more motivation tips and advice.
Regular activity can boost your confidence
Building up a consistent exercise regime has a fantastic benefit of giving you a boost of self confidence. As you set and achieve personal goals, you can pat yourself on the back for each of your achievements. Add to that stronger body and the ability to run, row, lift, cycle, push and pull further and faster than before and it’s clear that workouts are a great way to help build your self confidence.
Looking for more ways to improve your psychological happiness? We spoke to Dr Sarah Hattam who provided tips on staying mentally fit and healthy. Discover more information and inspiration over on our mental health and the gym hub, where you’ll find real life success stories and workout advice that could help you on your well being journey.
For Help & Support
Please know that it's okay not to be okay. You are not alone. It is said that 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues each year. If you are struggling with your mental health, please speak to someone you can trust like a friend or family member or a doctor and get support. There are a number of UK mental health charities, such as Mental Health UK, Mind UK where you can get more information and support.