When your alarm sounds at 5 a.m or when you’re exhausted after a full day of work and errands, it can be tempting to skip the gym to sneak in a few more minutes of rest. When you’re in the middle of a tough workout, feeling the burn and begging your personal trainer to let you quit, it’s easy to feel like you’d rather be doing just about anywhere else. Regular exercise isn’t easy, but remember: Nothing that’s worth it ever is.
Whether you realize it or not — and regardless of what your head says — you’re body is silently thanking you for each workout you complete. Exercise has powerful physical health effects (this you likely know), but what many people aren’t aware of is that regular physical activity also offers unexpected benefits for the mind, too.
Let’s take a look at how one sweaty hour a day can make a big difference in not only your physical health but your mental health, too.
Being Physically Fit Helps Boost Confidence
You already know eating healthy and exercising regularly can stimulate profound changes in your physical appearance. And while changing your appearance may be the initial reason you decided to start working out, the changes you’ll experience are more than skin deep.
Using your body, strengthening it, feeding it well, and watching it transform can have remarkable effects on your self-esteem and self-confidence. Plus, the relationships you develop in a group-oriented gym setting can also go a long way toward helping you build a positive self-image.
Taking the time to take care of your body can help remind you of just how remarkable you really are — both inside and out.
Exercise Boosts the Brain’s Happy Chemicals
Happy might not describe your mood in the middle of a tough sweat session, but wait until you’re done — you might just be surprised at how great you really feel. That’s because exercise boosts the release of “happy” chemicals in your brain like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins.
These chemicals trigger feelings of euphoria, contentment, and accomplishment — researchers have found this is true even in people who suffer from major depression. In fact, one 2013 study found that there was no difference in efficacy between prescribed anti-depressants and a bout of intense exercise.
For many people, the emotional payoff of exercise is so profound, it becomes habit-forming. If you’re looking to benefit from the feel-good effects of regular exercise, getting involved with a group-oriented gym can be tremendously helpful. Whether you’re participating in group exercise classes or working one-on-one with a personal trainer, you’ll get accountability, which is absolutely essential for maintaining a regular fitness habit.
Routine Physical Activity Helps Protect Against Cognitive Decline
Have you ever walked into a room to grab something and suddenly forgot why on earth you went in there? We’ve probably all been there at least a few times. While we tend to joke about this kind of stuff, cognitive decline is a very real phenomenon that occurs as we age.
Though you may not have any real symptoms now, as your brain ages (beyond the age of 45), it becomes less efficient at processing and recalling information. Exercise isn’t a cure for cognitive decline, but because it boosts brain chemicals that prevent degeneration, it can absolutely help keep your brain sharp as it ages.
Hitting the gym today might just help you dominate your sudoku game in 30-40 years.
Exercise Can Help Alleviate Anxiety
If you struggle with anxiety, whether it’s chronic or the result of a stressful life situation, it can very debilitating. Excessive worrying, fatigue, emotional volatility, restlessness, insomnia — the mental and emotional difficulties that arise from a bout of anxiety can make you feel like you don’t even want to leave the house.
While hitting the gym might be the last thing on your mind when you’re dealing with anxiety, getting a good workout in can help soothe your symptoms. Exercise stimulates your brain to release a cascade of feel-good chemicals, including:
● GABA and BDNF
● Endogenous cannabinoids
Because these chemicals and hormones help regulate your emotional response, exercise can actually help soothe acute anxiety symptoms. And when you make physical activity a priority in your daily routine, it can also reduce the severity of chronic anxiety and even prevent it from coming back. Studies have even found that in many individuals, moderate- to high-intensity exercise can improve anxiety symptoms better than many conventional therapies, including psychotherapy.
If you feel anxiety about going to the gym — whether it’s because you’ve never been or you don’t feel comfortable working out alone — consider hiring a personal trainer! You’ll get personalized nutrition coaching, an exercise routine designed around your unique needs, and perhaps most importantly, accountability that will push you to reach your goals.
Ready to Change Your Life? Get a Free Personal Training Consultation Today
If you’re ready to experience the profound physical and mental health benefits of regular exercise, our personal trainers at Envision Fitness are ready to help you get there. Whether you’re looking for one-on-one personal training, group fitness classes, athletic training, weight loss classes, or nutrition coaching, we’ve got you covered.
To learn more about us or get started, feel free to call our Hopkins, MN gym at 952-444-2791 or request a free consultation online. You can also message us with any questions, and we’ll be in touch!