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How Workouts Impact Mental Health

There's an ancient saying that a healthy mind dwells in a healthy body. In a way, this connection between the body and soul remains somewhat obvious to this day. However, you may be wondering about the actual nature of this connection and if a specific set of physical exercises help you feel better. Furthermore, can regular exercises help you achieve balance between mental and physical well-being? 

If you ask local experts from one of Vacaville's leading professional gyms, the answer is resounding “yes”! Even a beginner workout can improve your self-esteem and help you cope with stress. To find out more about the advantages of physical exercise for your mind and soul, keep on reading!

What is the relationship between physical activity and mental health?

What is the relationship between physical activity and mental health?

Mental health is one of the most important aspects of our lives, but it's often something that we take for granted. Fortunately, there are many ways that workouts can help you, and the effect on your mental health can be quite profound. Here are just a couple of advantages: 

  • Improved cognitive ability 

Working out can help improve your cognitive ability. This is a result of an increased blood flow to the brain, which in turn enables healthier neuron function. This way, studying or resolving complex problems would also become easier, due to increased focus, attention span, and alertness. 

  • Reduced stress levels

Exercise has been shown to be a very effective way of reducing stress. In turn, it can also help you counter some effects of anxiety, depression, and enhance the quality of life if you’re recovering from a traumatic event.

  • An improved sense of self-esteem 

Regular exercise can help to improve your self-esteem and body image, by making you feel stronger and more capable. For many people, this feeling of accomplishment is key to overcoming anxiety or fear from fitness centers. Finally, it provides motivation and confidence to take on other daily responsibilities. 

  • A better night's sleep 

Exercise can help to improve the quality of your sleep, due to healthier breathing and heart rate. Reduced body weight will also decrease the chance of snoring and therefore guarantee that you wake up refreshed, energized, and ready for new challenges. 

How does physical fitness affect mental health?

The secret connection between positive moods and physical fitness isn’t only about wearing the right shoes or clothes. You have to consider the hormones, primarily endorphins, but also serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. When you’re physically active, these mood-enhancing chemicals are released, at different levels, depending on the intensity of the exercise. 

  • Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers and they also act as sedatives, helping to ease anxiety and stress. They produce a sense of pleasure and happiness.
  • Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, appetite, and sleep. A lack of serotonin is linked to depression.
  • Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and motivation. It’s also involved in the brain’s reward system, which explains why exercise can be so addictive.
  • Norepinephrine is a hormone that’s released in response to stress. It helps to increase alertness and focus.

What are the ways to regulate hormones and promote positive mental health?

There are a few different ways that you can help to set your body and mind in balance: 

  • Exercise regularly: As mentioned before, exercise is a great way to release mood-enhancing chemicals. Make sure to find an activity that you enjoy so that it doesn’t feel like a chore. Also, vary the activities - don’t just focus on cardio, but include some cycling, running, stretching, weight lifting, and swimming in your regimen.
  • Keep your mind occupied:  If you find yourself with a lot of free time, make sure to fill it with positive activities such as reading, socializing, or hobbies. Other practices that help include mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises. 
  • Get enough sleep: Sleep is essential for good mental health. Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. It will have a positive effect on your energy levels. 
  • Eat healthy:  Eating a balanced diet is important for good mental health. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.
  • Consult a professional:  If you feel like you’re struggling to cope with stress or anxiety, don’t hesitate to consult a professional. Physical training can be a powerful tool for improving mental health, but a therapist can help you identify the root of the problem and find healthy ways to cope. 

Can residents of Vacaville recommend a well-equipped gym in town for a beginner's workout? 

If you're looking for a great place to start your fitness journey, the experts at Maximum Fitness can help you get started on the right foot. With a wide variety of workout options and experienced staff, we can help you find the perfect way to get fit, healthy, and improve your mood. If you’re just about to start exercising, our staff is at your service to help you prepare for your first training day. You can easily find us just a couple of blocks away from Vacaville Museum. Contact us today and check some of our flexible membership options!