Fitness is a concept often associated with improving the state of the body, which is correct. However not a lot is said outside of the professional realm about the benefits getting fit, brings to the mind. Most of us live fairly stressful lives; a state of things that can take its toll on our moods and mindsets. These days it seems that disorders such as depression and anxiety are rampant in society; with more and more people finding it difficult to cope with the ever-increasing pace of the world.
We feel drained, fatigued, overworked and overwhelmed, and when this happens, it can be difficult to work up the motivation to get some exercise.
Ironically, exercise it the exact fix that helps many people rectify their mindset, so that they can face their lives with confidence, motivation and energy.
Exercise: Not Just for the Body
The reality is that scores of studies have been conducted on how exercise affects the mind, and in all such cases, the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
Working out acts as more than a simple distraction or release, but has been known to have a biological effect on the way you think, the way you see the world, and how you interact with it; for the better.
So let’s take a closer look at exactly how fitness improves your mindset:
Exercise V.S Depression
Where mild to moderate depression is concerned, studies have shown exercise to have as much of a positive impact on a person’s mindset than antidepressants; in fact, considering that you won’t suffer the side-effects of medication, concentrating on fitness can be regarded as even more beneficial.
Exercise promotes neural growth in the brain, boosts confidence and releases endorphins which are known to promote better moods, calmness and a positive feeling in the body.
Exercise V.S Anxiety
In days of yore, humans depended on their flight or fight reflexes as a matter of survival. Should we encounter a predator in the wild, we needed to be able to deal with the threat immediately.
Back then, however, it took a predator to ignite this reflex; these days it happens everytime we deal with a client, a boss, bills, family problems or any of the other unavoidable stresses in our lives.
This, for many people, can have only one outcome: the onset of an anxiety disorder.
While there are plenty of pharmacological treatments for anxiety, all of them come with concerns such as their side-effects, the chance of dependency, and in some cases they may not work anyway.
There is an answer, however, working on building your fitness.
Exercise works on a few fronts to treat anxiety. Firstly, it reduces stress and increases mental energy, reducing the onset of anxiety altogether. When people tell you that they are going to the gym to ‘blow off steam’, this is what they mean.
Though exercise also outfits your mind with the ability to handle stress more effectively, which means that it is a powerful tool for learning to manage anxiety.
Exercise further helps with treating and managing anxiety because it forms a type of mediation when done with cognitive care. You might wonder what the relaxing process of mediation and the energetic approach needed for exercise have in common, but it’s really quite simple:
When you exercise, and really concentrate on what you are doing, you will be paying attention to repetitive elements such as breathing, counting reps or mastering your form.
This kind of repetitive action, while engaging both your body and your mind, is in fact a form of meditation; and goes a long way towards helping you manage stress and anxiety.
Working on building your fitness is also excellent for many other cognitive struggles. It has been shown to improve focus and attention, even memory. It is known to help combat PTSD and improves one’s self-esteem (a powerful tool in itself for improving your mindset).
There is a lot that we can do through exercise that can improve our way of life, and even more that we can learn from the realm of professional fitness.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a personal trainer, and helping others to improve both their body and mindset, consider enrolling in an online course through Trifocus Fitness Academy.