The Mental Benefits of Working Out

mental benefits of working out

We all know that working out is good for you, but there are more benefits to working out than just getting in shape or losing weight. Working out increases our heart rate sending oxygen to the brain, but why is that important?

Our brains need oxygen in order to perform properly. Believe it or not, humans are actually very shallow breathers, throw in the common sedentary lifestyle and it begins to make sense that our brains probably aren’t getting the amount of oxygen that it needs to perform its best. Essentially, you could say that without exercising we’re suffocating our brain, which can lead to a plethora of mental health issues that may go unnoticed because they’re now so common that they’re seen as “normal.” So what are some of the ways our mental health can be improved by working out and going to the gym?

mental benefits of working out

Depression and Anxiety

When trying to deal with depression or anxiety it can be incredibly difficult to try to force yourself to go to the gym or even start a workout at home. However, going to the gym can be incredibly beneficial for dealing with depression or anxiety and here’s why…

When working out, endorphins, as well as other natural chemicals, are released into the brain creating a sense of well-being and self-worth. It also provides a healthy way to keep your mind preoccupied so that you’re not able to have negative thoughts. 

Going to the gym will also provide you with social interactions which can help release more endorphins and improve your mood. You may even get to know the people who go to the gym around the time you do and make a new friend or two!

If you’re finding it difficult to go to the gym by yourself, try asking a friend to go with you until you feel comfortable at the gym. You can also try working out at home as a way to get your blood flowing and then try going to the gym once you feel more comfortable with the idea.

Stress

Stress has become so popular nowadays that dealing with it has almost become second nature. But, what most people don’t realize is the huge effect that stress has on your body and your mind. Feeling stressed not only makes you feel uncomfortable, but it can affect your sleep, your work life and your personal life. Stress can also lead people towards feeling depressed or anxious, so it’s important to keep your stress level to a minimum.

Working out can be a great stress reducer because it gives you a place to focus and release any built up tension you may be feeling. Just like with depression and anxiety, the extra endorphins released through exercise can help lower your stress levels. 

Going to the gym can also help reduce stress because it gives you the opportunity to separate yourself from whatever situation may be causing you stress. The social aspect of the gym can also be incredibly beneficial when dealing with stress.

mental benefits of working out

Insomnia

Sleep is as equally important for us as food and water, but most of us aren’t getting the quality of sleep that we need. A lack of sleep can create problems with concentration, creating new memories, immune function, high blood pressure, depression, weight gain and cardiovascular diseases.

Fortunately, working out can improve the quality and duration of your sleep. Getting physical activity throughout the day will expend more energy and leave you feeling tired when it comes time to go to sleep. Because working out can also relieve stress and reduce anxiety and depression, your body will feel more relaxed and your thoughts more at ease, letting you fall asleep quickly. 

The body needs to cool down to go into sleep mode and because your body temperature rises during your workout, the cool-down after your workout when your body temperature drops significantly is going to make you tired because it reminds the body of the natural process for getting ready for sleep.

Confidence

Confidence can have a huge impact on your thoughts and emotions and a lot of people don’t even realize they have a lack of confidence, until they gain it and realize what they were missing. Having a lack of confidence doesn’t always mean you look at yourself in the mirror and dislike what you see. Confidence plays a strong part in who we are throughout the day and can impact the decisions that our subconscious pushes us to make. 

Going to the gym can help boost your confidence for several reasons. Forcing yourself to get into the routine of going to the gym often times provides a sense of accomplishment that one wouldn’t necessarily feel otherwise. Of course, there’s also the added benefit of losing weight and adding muscle. The added benefits of sleep and not feeling so stressed also help with this as well. 

These are just a few ways that working out helps improve our mental functions, but there are so many more. If you’re curious about learning how working out can benefit you personally, give us a call or drop by our gym.

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