Are you struggling with finding the motivation to hit the gym? Goals of weight loss, fitting into a certain outfit, or feeling comfortable on the beach are always great incentives but often aren’t enough. 

Aside from the obvious physical improvements that come from working out, there are many psychological benefits of exercise. Many times, these mental health benefits will give you the needed push to meet your physical and emotional goals! 

We’re going to talk about 5 of the psychological advantages of working out, keep reading for more information! 

1. Alleviate Depression Symptoms

If you are being prescribed antidepressants, it takes about six weeks for them to begin working. After they begin ‘working’ you may experience unwanted side effects. 

Exercise can help reduce your depression symptoms as you wait for the desired changes of the antidepressants. Additionally, exercise will help combat any unwanted side effects, like weight gain and restlessness. 

Whether you choose to treat depression with or without medication, working out releases ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain that will help fight your symptoms

2. Increase Confidence

Working out will allow you to lose weight, bulk up, or simply tone your body. The positive physical changes will affect how you perceive yourself, which will often improve your self-worth. 

Higher confidence and self-worth is linked to better jobs, satisfaction in relationships, and overall increased happiness. 

3. Reign in Bad Habits

People in recovery (from drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, and mental illness) find that their addiction or illness is easier to cope with when there is a physical outlet. 

Additionally, traveling with an eating disorder or an addiction can be difficult. Although this is true, exercising while on vacation can help boost your mood, this will put you in the right mindset which can help you avoid relapses. 

4. Your Brain Stays Sharp

Getting older has a number of implications, one of which includes not being as cognitively functional. Sure, there are a number of ‘brain games’ to keep your mind working, but they don’t come close to doing the same as daily exercise.

Something as simple as a daily 30-minute walk may help decrease the chances of Alzheimer’s or other degenerative diseases of the mind.

5. Stress Reduction

The correlation between stress and heart health have been linked for years and unfortunately, most people deal with their stress by making unhealthy choices.

Working out chemically reduces stress by releasing dopamine, reducing cortisol, and allowing you to get a good night’s sleep. Reducing stress also may mean fewer tension-related achesand pains, leaving you feeling (physically) great!

Psychological Benefits of Exercise: Mind & Matter

Although you may begin your fitness journey with only physical goals in mind, you will shortly begin to see the psychological benefits of exercise. In fact, on the days you want to skip the gym, those mental health benefits might keep you going back.

The most important part of any fitness journey is to keep it in perspective and to keep it healthy. While exercise is a great start, what you eat is equally important. Check out these healthy eating tips to ensure your mind and body get the proper fuel!