We all know that exercise is great for our physical health, but what are the mental benefits of exercise? I’ve got 8 for you!
1. Exercise provides a routine
I get up early in the morning to exercise before work which provides me with a regular routine which I’ve gotten used to. I also exercise before work because I know I’d feel less motivated to exercise after work.
Do what works for you, though. It might be that you prefer to exercise after work or in the middle of the day.
The best time to exercise is whenever it fits in with you, because you’re more likely to stick to it. Also, for some people a routine might actually become boring.
If this is you then perhaps experiment with exercising at different times during the week, or perhaps you might want to switch up your exercises.
2. Exercise helps release endorphins
You’ve probably heard this before. Exercise releases endorphins which help us feel good.
I find that exercise helps me feel good in my body and mind, even if I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated to train that day.
Don’t let a lack of motivation put you off exercising, as we can’t feel motivated all the time.
Push yourself to exercise anyway, because at the end of it you’ll feel glad you did it!
3. Helps you feel more confident
Another of the mental benefits of exercise is that it’s really helped with my body confidence. My weight training has helped me feel a lot more confident with how my body looks.
Aside from how I physically look, I also feel more confident as I get physically stronger. It continues to amaze me what my body is capable of.
Weight training might not be your fitness routine of choice, though. Whatever exercise you do, if it helps you feel more confident then that’s a great benefit!
4. Can help with your social life
I have a home gym so it’s just me, myself and I for the time being! If you prefer to workout from home then there’s certain equipment you might need. Or, perhaps you’d like a fitness app to help give you workout options.
If you like to socialise and connect with others then going to the gym or joining exercise clubs is likely to help you meet new people.
What’s even better is that you’ll already have at least one common interest as the other people at the gym or fitness club!
Meeting new people might also help to develop your confidence and make it easier for you to put yourself in new social situations in the future.
5. Exercise gives a sense of purpose
Usually when you exercise it’s with a specific goal, or goals, in mind. You might want to lose weight, put on weight, run a longer distance, lift a certain weight.
Having these goals can improve your mental health as they give you something to work towards. A goal is something to look forward to and keeps you striving.
If you exercise without having some sort of goal, you may start to wonder why you’re exercising and you may lose motivation.
Just make sure your goals are realistic. If you set your goals too high you may not reach them and lose motivation.
6. Helps to reduce stress
I know that if I don’t exercise for a week (e.g., when I go on holiday) I become eager to get back to it.
Not only does exercise help reduce stress, but personally I also find it helps me manage my stress much better.
Not all stress is bad, though, and a certain amount of stress can motivate us to get things done.
However, a build up of stress isn’t good and can impact upon our mental health.
7. Exercise helps with sleep
Another of the mental benefits of exercise is that it improves the quality of your sleep.
There are some people who think that exercising too close to bedtime might stop you from sleeping. However, if you do exercise in the evening and you’re not seeing any adverse effects then great.
Also remember that sleep is important in terms of recovery from exercise. So, make sure you’re getting enough sleep as this will help with your fitness routine in the long run.
How much sleep we need varies from person to person. Again, see what works for you.
8. Exercise gives you more energy
Whilst this sounds counter-intuitive, I’ve found it to be true!
Immediately after I finish training I tend to feel quite drained. However, once I’ve got ready for work and I’m heading out the door I feel a lot more energised.
Perhaps it’s connected to the release of the endorphins? I’m not sure!
Whatever the reason, a lot of people report feeling that they have more energy after they’ve exercised.
I hope this post had given a useful summary of the mental benefits of exercise. What’s your go-to exercise regime? How has this benefited you?
Let me know in the comments!
Welcome! I’m a Psychologist and fitness enthusiast. My passion is supporting people with their health and wellbeing, and inspiring them to pursue the things they love doing. Please contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions or want to collaborate!