Whether it is to improve your cardiovascular fitness, increase your strength, for rehabilitation because of an injury or to simply maintain your physical health, there are a wide range of reasons people will sign up to a gym. Your reason will always differ from others; however, it is very rare that someone will sign up to the gym with the intention of improving or assisting in their mental health wellbeing.
It is common knowledge that exercise can be a significant tool in improving an individual’s mental health. Despite this knowledge, many see it as simply an added benefit to their training, when it can be the main reason for your exercising.
Regular exercise has significant benefits for an individual’s mental health, including:
Exercising helps increase neurogenesis by increasing blood flow as well as delivering oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. This is a process the brain completes to create new brain cells and helps improve the functioning and performance of your brain.
On top of this, the hippocampus, the area of the brain that controls your memory and learning functions, can be strengthened and grow through exercising. This means that your brain will stay strong and fresh if you exercise regularly, allowing it to work at a higher capacity than those who may not be as physically active.
Your self esteem can be significantly boosted by the physical and aesthetic benefits of exercising regularly, including weight loss, aerobic fitness, increased muscle tone, strength, and endurance.
Your mental health can also improve if your confidence in your outward appearance increases, boosting your motivation to leave the house and exercise more.
It is common knowledge that exercising can improve not only the quality of your sleep but the length of your total sleep. By regularly moving your body, you will be using your energy more, making you feel more tired and therefore, by the time you head to bed for the night, it will be easier for you to fall asleep.
Alertness and concentration are improved by regular exercise as it reduces fatigue. In addition to this, you can reduce your cortisol levels and blood pressure through mind-body exercises including yoga. In the long term, these exercises will boost your mood.
Exercising releases both enkephalins and endorphins – often referred to as the ‘feel good’ hormones of the human body. These hormones will be released during exercises, and, in the long term, will decrease your negative self-talk and contemplations.
Family members are big support systems to those who suffer from mental illnesses and are an important part of their coping and healing processes. It could be a great idea, instead of seeing friends and family in normal environments (i.e. a house or workplace), to spend time together in an outdoor setting such as a park, swimming pool or gym.
Taking your relationships to new, different locations that include exercise can develop the relationship further.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with our team today.