Many people exercise only for the physical benefits without realizing that exercise can provide a huge and immediate boost to your mental well-being. On your next trip to FitClub, try focusing on how your mental health benefits from your sweat session!
1. Immediate impact. When we only exercise to improve our physical health, the results take time and patience to recognize. That’s not true of exercising for mental well-being. When you exercise, particularly an exercise that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat, the brain releases endorphins that make you just feel good. At the same time, the exercise combats the naturally occurring stress hormones released by your body, like adrenaline and cortisol. The effect is a one-two punch that leaves you feeling less stressed, more optimistic, and generally in a better mood. This is what runners talk about as the “runner’s high”. Fortunately, whether you run, walk, CycleFit, or do Zumba, the same chemicals are available to leave you feeling healthier in both mind and body.
Prolonged, stress can cause physical problems throughout the body. Once you start a consistent exercise routine you might find that you have fewer headaches, less tightness in your body, or improved gastrointestinal health. Those are all directly related to the brain’s capacity to reduce stress and release endorphins through a consistent exercise routine.
2. Long-term benefits. Like physical health, there are long-term mental health benefits to sticking with a consistent exercise routine. Exercisers that developed a consistent exercise routine throughout the week demonstrated improved memory function and emotional regulation that had long term positive changes to the brain’s makeup. Like any other muscle, the brain can grow and adapt and change the way it functions when it is properly cared for and challenged.
3. Life-long benefits. How do you feel about yourself when your body starts to look more toned? How did you feel the first time you went a little faster, a little further, or lifted more weight than would have been possible weeks or months before? Consistent exercise that delivers physical strength and improved physical health leaves you feeling more confident with improved energy. While the strength and toning may be happening to you on a physical level, you can’t ignore the mental health benefits of crushing your FitClub goals. Setting a goal and sticking with it can leave you satisfied day after day.
4. Max out your brain chemistry through exercise. Any exercise routine that feels good to your mind and body and that you can perform consistently will get you started on the path to more endorphins and less stress. As you exercise, check in with how you’re feeling. Have you stopped worrying about the stressors of the day? Do you feel more creative, less anxious, and happier? Stick with it and the answer to all of those questions will likely be “yes” now and in the future!
What are you waiting for, FitClub members? Your brain’s healthy journey is just one workout away!