Everyone knows that exercise keeps you physically healthy, but did you know that it can also keep you mentally healthy? Anyone who’s ever walked out of the gym feeling exhausted, dripping in sweat and with sore muscles, but feeling on a high will agree- exercise makes you feel good.
There has been plenty of research into the links between exercise and mental health, and it shows that people who exercise regularly have better mental health, emotional wellbeing and lower rates of mental illness. There are a number of reasons why this is, including:
- Exercise releases ‘feel good’ endorphins: Endorphins are chemicals that are released in your brain when you exercise, which interact with the receptors in the brain and reduce your feelings of pain. This is why when you’ve finished a long run or a hard gym session you get that ‘euphoric’ feeling, even though you’ve just done something physically draining.
- Exercise improves sleep: People who exercise regularly tend to get better sleep, and people generally feel happier after a good night’s sleep.
- Exercise reduces stress: You don’t even have to beat up a boxing bag to get your stress and frustration out (although it helps)- any exercise can help to reduce feelings of stress, thanks to those endorphins again!
- Exercise reduces symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety: The first three points will all help to contribute to reducing symptoms of mental health conditions, along with reduced feelings of loneliness if you get out into the world to work out, improving your self-esteem, coping abilities and sense of control, increasing serotonin levels in the brain and distracting you from negative thoughts.
Getting yourself moving can be harder if you’re suffering from a mental illness, as often you may not want to or feel capable of exercising, but keeping active can give you an instant boost. Our personal trainer, Kendall, has firsthand experience of this. During her father’s battle with cancer and suffering from severe depression, she used the gym as an escape. It was the only place she could switch off from everything: “Some days I could only stay for 20 minutes, but it was enough to make me feel good.”
The staff at Glenorchy Health and Fitness are always here for our members and are ready to give you any support you need during your health and fitness journey. This week is Mental Health Week, so we are offering $0 Joining Fee for all new members to encourage people to come in and reap the benefits of exercise! Call us at (03)62724849 or visit us at 51 Chapel St, Glenorchy for more information.
By Jemma Haythorne.