There’s nothing like a sweet, sweet sweat session. While the physical gains of exercise are well-documented and often rightly praised in our culture (hello, ever-coveted ripped abs and the ability to lift everyday items with ease), not nearly as much is said about the mental health benefits it can have on us. And really, there should be!
Don’t get us wrong, growth in physical appearance and abilities are certainly things to be celebrated, but mental clarity and emotional stability are also strengths we celebrate at Womens Fitness Clubs of Canada.
Turns out, there are many reasons why so many active people dub exercise their “therapy.” Let’s shine some light on a few first-hand and science-backed mental health benefits of getting your sweat on:
- Simply put: it makes you feel good on a chemical level.
Exercise releases endorphins – a chemical known as the “happy hormone” that is partly responsible for that post-workout feel-good, mood-boosting glow. Moral of the story? If you’re having an “off” day, hitting the gym can be a win-win for both the body and the mind!
- It may help prevent depression.
Did you know exercise is often “prescribed” as an all-natural treatment and preventative method for depression, anxiety, and more? The therapeutic aspects of exercise rang bells in a 2017 Australian study, which found that just one hour of exercise per week may prevent depression.
- Encourages clarity in everything you do.
As MayoClinic so eloquently pointed out, getting lost in your movement can serve as a form of meditation. “As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.”
- Stimulates the brain through variety.
Similar to how meditation or a great book can expand the mind and challenge you to think differently, regularly switching up the way you move can stimulate the brain and mind in new ways.
“Repeating the same exercise over and over even perfectly does not enhance the brain as optimally as if you were to include something unexpected, something novel,” says Dr. Edythe Heus, founder of Revolution in Motion.
Womens Fitness Clubs of Canada recognizes this. Whether it’s “me-time” solo cardio or weightlifting you crave, a mindfulness-boosting hot yoga class, or stimulating HIIT-style session, WFCC has it all. Consider this a sign to try out that class you’ve been hemming and hawing over.
- Builds confidence through meeting goals.
Setting workout goals turns your focus on allocating time to do something positive for yourself, for your health (Team #Selfcare, anyone?). Reaching those goals creates a quiet confidence that is sure to have a positive ripple effect in other areas of your life.
- Supports a sense of belonging.
Community is a critical part of our overall well being, especially as it pertains to our mental health. Having a community or interest that you know you can lean on makes a world of difference, whether you’re dealing with mental health issues or simply needing a hand with the barbell machine. WFCC fosters an inclusive women-only, safe workout space where women can gather to feel a part of something positive; to meet fellow goal-oriented, kick-butt women!
We want to know: How do you feel exercise impacts your mental health? What’s your go-to mood-boosting WFCC workout? Send your answer to our content marketing specialist, Emily-Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.