Whilst most people set exercise goals around their fitness, or physical appearance, it’s less known that a good workout is one of the most effective ways to improve mental health. A consistent exercise routine can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and ADHD, due to a surge of endorphins that are proven to relieve stress, improve sleep quality, and lift overall mood. Get inspired to grab your gym shorts after reading these top 6 proven ways that working out can benefit your mental health and wellbeing.
Ease stress and anxiety
After a long, hard day at work it’s oh-so-tempting to laze about on the couch, watch a good rom-com, and order in some junk food. Whilst it’s important to have some ‘me time’, you’d be surprised to learn that putting your feet up can actually be counterproductive. Working up a sweat is one of the best way to alleviate any built-up stress or anxiety, due to the increased production of norepinephrine – a chemical that can change how the brain reacts to stress. A good cardio session has the power to calm you down, whilst repositioning your mind set. So, the next time you have a stressful day in the office, hit the gym, not the take-away.
Exercise gives you endorphins
And endorphins make you happy! Whilst a 5k run might seem like the impossible, as your heart rate increases your brain chemistry alters to release endorphins, which as mentioned in point one, reduce stress and boost your mood. These feel-good hormones are what give you that satisfied sense of pride after a good gym session. Even though you hate it at the time, afterwards your body and brain will thank you.
Invest in your self-confidence
We all know that regular exercise, combined with a healthy diet can slim down the waistline and improve fitness. When you start to see these physical changes, your self-esteem will get a total make-over too. Being physically fit will make you look and feel amazing, and having a positive representation of your personal image will boost your confidence and once again lift your move. Let’s face it, there is nothing more attractive than confidence!
Boost Brain power
Not only is cardiovascular activity is good for mental health, it’s actually proven to make you a little smarter too. Various scientific research has shown that increased cardio can form new brain cells and can increase brain-derived protein (BDNF). It’s thought that this chemical reaction can help you to become more decisive and to learn quicker. So, no more humming and haring about which restaurant you want to eat at!
Improve your physical health
It’s important not to overlook the physical benefits that are associated with maintaining a consistent exercise routine. In addition to improving your fitness levels and keeping your figure trim, exercise can reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. It can improve organ and bone health, as a healthier heart will keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, and stronger muscles will significantly reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. Increased activity levels can boost your energy levels and adding a high-intensity workout into your day is proven to improve sleep quality.
Become your own inspiration
We spend so much time envying over fitness models on Instagram, who seem to have the perfect lifestyle and body to match. But why sit back and watch them live their dreams, when you could live your own? With any workout routine, consistency is key. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, work hard, smash your targets, and be your own inspiration.
Whether you choose to join the gym, or get out walking on the weekends, the benefits of consistent exercise can have a dramatic effect on your lifestyle, health and well-being. What are you waiting for?