Most people hit the gym to improve their physical shape and form, but there is one unexpected benefit of going to the gym: it can improve your mental health. Discover how going to the gym can help alleviate anxiety, depression, and even help you get a good night’s sleep.
1. It helps clears your head
When you are doing absolutely nothing, you tend to ruminate and worry about the world. This is why going to the gym can be a great distraction. Instead of thinking about all the lemons life hands you, you are instead focused on your workout, how fast you are going, the calories you have burned, the distance you ran, etc. These are good things to focus on. Most gyms are also equipped with TV’s, so you can become fully immersed in a show while working out, or as an alternative, you can create a Spotify playlist of all your favorite songs and blast that while working out.
2. Boosts Endorphins and Norepinephrines
When you are sprawled out on the couch with your entire forearm in a bag of Doritos, of course you are going to feel awful about yourself. But when you are on running on the treadmill or using the elliptical and your body is going and moving, you probably feel like one million bucks. This is because when you work out, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that create a feeling of euphoria and happiness. This is why going to the gym is a great treatment for those who suffer from anxiety and depression. Your brain also has a chemical called norepinephrine, which helps moderate your response to stress. Working out helps boosts concentrations of norepinephrine, in which as a result (you guessed it) helps decrease stress.
3. Boosts your confidence and self-esteem
It is not only the endorphins that boosts feelings of happiness. If you are committed gym goer, you might notice some positive physical changes. Even losing something small like five pounds can automatically boost your entire self esteem and help you feel more confident about yourself. With that confidence, you are more likely to keep on going to the gym. Sometimes it is just lifestyle changes alone that can give you a greater sense of confidence, because you are doing something that promotes self-care and the overall health of your body, versus lounging on the couch all day and doing nothing.
4. Boosts brain power
A sweaty workout session can increases levels of a brain-derived protein in your body known as BDNF. This protein helps boosts critical thinking and learning. So it might be beneficial for you to make a quick pit stop at the gym before an important test, or when you have to sit down to write a long essay. Working out also boosts the production of cells that are responsible for your memory so working out not only decreases all your stress and worries about an exam, but it also boosts your studying skills! Gym, tan, learning?
5. Helps improve your sleep
If you find yourself having many restless nights, going to the gym might be the cure for your insomnia. It is probably because all that sweating, running, and moving is utterly exhausting, but scientific evidence has concluded that exercise can be a treatment for insomnia. So if you are looking to catch more ZZZs, try to fit going to the gym into your schedule.