MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF EXCERCISE
Chances are you know a lot about all the physical health benefits of exercise — losing weight, building strength, increasing your metabolism, improving your stamina, and more. But how much do you know about the mental health benefits of physical training and exercise? From increasing energy and improving sleep to reducing depression and anxiety, regular physical activity does as much good for your brain as it does for your body. Let’s take a look at some of the most important mental health benefits of exercise.
IMPROVE YOUR MOOD
Along with improving your physical health and wellness, exercising regularly can help you feel more positive and content overall. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, a natural “feel-good” chemical that boosts your mood. Regular exercise also increases your energy, improves your sleep, and even helps you think more clearly. Together, these benefits help improve your mental outlook, sense of well-being, and quality of life.
IMPROVE YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE
Research shows that setting and achieving goals builds self-confidence and self-esteem. So, in addition to improving the way you look and feel, exercise also makes you feel more capable. And you don’t have to set big goals to experience this benefit.
This is especially important to remember if you’re new to exercising, just getting back into working out, dealing with a health condition, or recovering from surgery or an injury. Working out at your own pace for 30 minutes a couple of times a week can be a great first step. Then, once that becomes a regular habit, you can set a new goal
MANAGE ANXIETY AND STRESS
Take a second and think about how your body feels when you are anxious or stressed. For most of us, our muscles tense up, especially in our shoulders, neck, and face. Some of us also experience physical side effects like headaches, stomach problems, a pounding heart, difficulty breathing, dizziness, insomnia, heartburn, and more.
Physical activity and exercise are a great way to release the tension that causes these issues. Endorphins also come into play here. In addition to helping increase your blood flow and relax your muscles, exercising releases these naturally occurring chemicals help relieve stress and pain and also boost your mood, so both your body and your mind feel better.
IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL FOCUS
Physical activity increases the amount of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in your brain. These naturally occurring chemicals have a positive impact on your ability to concentrate and pay attention. They also help improve your memory, mood, and motivation. All of these contribute to better mental focus.
LEARN TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is a kind of meditation where you focus on what you are sensing and feeling in the present moment. Yoga, tai chi, and Fight & Flow are good examples of workouts that integrate mindfulness into their movements and exercises. But you can practice mindfulness during any type of physical activity or workout.
For example, if you’re jumping rope to warm up for a boxing or kickboxing class, try paying attention to the rhythm of the rope hitting the floor or the way your feet feel as they jump. By focusing your awareness on what your body is experiencing in the moment, you can give your mind (and yourself) a break from the constant buzz of thoughts and worries that busy most of our brains.
MINDFUL BREATHING AND MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS
In the short term Fight and Flow focuses on guided imagery combining elements of Tai Chi and other breathing exercises. As you become more accustomed to the class you are able to really focus on your breathing, inhaling and exhaling to create the most effective routine.
Mental Health is such an important aspect of our daily life that it is vital we try to remember life is all about balance.
DISCOVER NEW WORKOUTS YOU LOVE
Once you establish and start following an exercise program, you’ll begin to figure out what types of physical activity and workouts you enjoy the most. As you get more experienced with exercising, you can begin exploring and trying new workouts to add to your routine.
Additionally, by including workouts of varying intensity (e.g., yoga versus kickboxing), you can ensure you always have an option that fits both your physical and mental health needs.
At X3 Sports, we offer a variety of classes to keep you active, engaged, motivated and — most importantly — happy. You can view our full lineup of classes on our website. If you are interested in starting an exercise program but don’t know where to begin, we would love to help. Click the link below to find out how to get started!.