It is cold, dark, and the sky is a strange and dreary grey that does not seem to shift in tone from one day to the next. And for those who have less of an issue dragging themselves out of their warm house, there are now talks about having to be mindful about socializing while leading up to Christmas. We are about ready to stay glued to our sofa, stuff our face with mince pies, and call it a day – let alone put on our running shoes or face another drizzly walk.
We all know that exercising is great for our physical health, that it can prevent certain health conditions and diseases, keep our bones strong, and our muscles steady. It is also widely documented that exercise can help keep our mental health in check as well, but are there any other psychological benefits we should know about?
There sure are!
Read this piece to find out more about the psychological benefits exercise can bring you.
Stress is something that plenty of us have become well acquainted with over the past couple of years, and that is ignoring the fact that we probably did not actually need the additional help that the pandemic brought to us. Day to day life can be stressful, without anything particularly difficult or taxing having to happen, which is why so many of us turn to coping mechanisms to help us unwind in the evening. While many would find it much easier and perhaps more desirable to reach for a bottle of wine after a long day at work, the more common coping mechanisms could be the very thing that only adds to our issues after. In this case, you can add a hangover too.
Exercising can be an excellent way for anyone who is stressed to get rid of that excessive, lingering energy and help our body become more calm and serene instead. While this is noticeable in the mind, as you start to let the little things breeze over you more easily, reduced stress can also help the health of your body significantly too – which creates a nice healthy cycle.
Did you know that 36% of adults struggle to sleep on a weekly basis out of 1000 adults in the UK? The average amount of sleep we get is also around six hours. While that might not sound terrible, it is not exactly great either. There is a reason our body needs restful deep sleep, and nothing can replace its restorative work, not even the strongest cup of coffee.
When we sleep, our bodies are doing anything but resting. The mind is storing new information and getting rid of what it does not need, reorganizing nerve cells, and restoring energy, hormones, and proteins. When we do not get a decent amount of sleep or a decent quality of sleep, we are putting our health in jeopardy in a way that no other deprivation can do as fast. Thankfully, there are a few actions you can take to make sure you get a better quality of sleep, including establishing a sleeping pattern, avoiding caffeine before bed, and also – exercising!
A good exercise session, either in the morning or late afternoon, can be extremely beneficial to aid the quality sleep you need to feel and work at your best. When you exercise is not particularly important, but it is worth noting that for some people, working out close to bedtime can actually cause them trouble getting to sleep and trouble staying asleep due to the cortisol and endorphins that are released during a high-intensity workout. Activities such as yoga, however, can be done at any time of the day. Head over to Health by Science for more information on how you can exercise.
Improved Confidence and Self-Esteem
It can be tempting to assume that exercise improves confidence and self-esteem based on the aesthetic changes that happen when you undergo an intensive regime. You might find that your body composition changes or that your jeans fit you a little better than they did a couple of weeks ago. This is enough in itself to give your self-esteem a boost, especially if you want to lose weight or change the way you look. However, another important factor that is often overlooked is that exercise can help improve your confidence when you are trying and achieving outcomes that you perhaps have not done before. This could be anything from a personal best to trying a brand-new exercise move you thought you would never manage. This can increase your self-esteem tenfold and help you understand that you can also make these changes in every area of your life.