Mental health can often get overlooked in the fitness industry. We tend to focus on the physical benefits and the visual changes, but keeping our mental state in order is key to everyone’s overall health.
Everyone will have their own personal journey with mental health throughout their lives and everyone will have their own way of both healing and managing their own minds.
For many the gym is their escape, their chance to unwind, a way to channel those negative energies and thoughts into something positive, something productive. When your mind becomes cluttered, exercise can be the route to a still mind.
Whether it be a cardio workout to sweat out the stresses of the day or a weights session to pump out the day’s frustrations, the gym can be your place of solitude, the place to focus on yourself and your own goals.
You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a real difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life.
Exercise & Depression
Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good.
Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
Exercise & Anxiety
Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you moving can help, but you’ll get a bigger benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out.
Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding this mindfulness element—really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.
How We Can Help
So if you’re looking for a positive outlet to life’s stresses and struggles, we at Results are here to help. It doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner or not been to a gym in years, we include on-going exercise plan design within our memberships. We can create an exercise programme for you based on your personalised goals and run you through it in a 1-1 session. Contact us for more information and to get yourself booked in.
If you’re struggling with your mental health right now please know you’re not alone. Please visit www.mind.org.uk for help and support.
Authors: Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Melinda Smith, M.A & sections/edits by Susie Dane.
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