Improve Mental Wellbeing by Staying Fit & Healthy
You know there are physical benefits of exercise 1—it helps you get in shape and lose weight, and it lowers your risk for numerous chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. But, did you know there are significant mental health benefits of exercise, too? There’s a strong link between exercise and mental health2, in fact. Here’s why a regular workout plan is as great for your brain as it is for your body:
Blood circulation is good for your brain
A Curves workout, bike ride, or brisk walk gets your heart pumping, which increases blood circulation throughout your body. More blood to your brain, specifically, helps you react more calmly to stress and improves your mood, which helps lower your risk for anxiety and depression. Increased blood flow to your brain can also boost your motivation, making you more likely to push through a challenging Curves full body workout.
When you exercise at a women’s only gym like Curves, you work out next to supportive, likeminded women and with the help of your very own Curves Coach. These may be to lose weight over 40, get back in shape after childbirth, or to simply get healthier. This weight loss encouragement and sense of community is good not only for making you more accountable for your workout plan but also for building your social network in general. According to recent research3 done at Michigan State University, the relationships we have with our friends has a profound effect on mental health and happiness. Those who strongly value their friendships report feeling more positive and well.
Exercise gives you a rush
When you go through the Curves Circuit or go for a swim or bike ride, your brain produces neurochemicals4, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, that make you feel good. Low levels of these chemicals have been linked to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. So by giving yourself a daily dose of exercise for mental health, you may be helping to keep both your body–and your outlook–as healthy as possible.
Your workout plan teaches you to deal with stress
Each time you go through your whole body workout or exercise routine, your body experiences some physical stress. Over time, not only do your muscles get stronger, so does your resilience to emotional stressors that come your way. The better you deal with stress, the less likely you will be to suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety or depression.
Exercise provides a welcomed distraction
When you go through your 30-minute strength training Circuit at Curves, or you briskly walk through the park with a friend, it gives you a break from worries or nagging tasks that may be plaguing your mind. Any break from negative thoughts is positive, but it is especially so when you spend it engaging in a feel-good workout plan.
Working out decreases your depression risk
According to a recent Australian study5, as little as one hour per week of exercise may help prevent a person from getting depressed. Scientists followed more than 22,000 healthy people for just over a decade, asking them about their exercise habits and symptoms of depression at the beginning and end of the study. They found those who didn’t exercise were 44 percent more likely to suffer symptoms of depression than the participants who worked out one to two hours per week.
Your gym workout protects your brainpower
One of the most reassuring links between exercise and mental health: physical activity may help ward off dementia as you get older. In a study done at the University of British Columbia, scientists found that aerobic exercise boosts the size of the area of the brain responsible for learning and verbal memory. At a time when more and more people suffer from dementia6 each year, these results offer an important health benefit of exercise.
It should come as no surprise that there are significant mental health benefits of exercise. After all, if you exercise, you know how good you feel at the end of a run, swim, or gym workout. To get the maximum benefits of exercise—both physical and mental—consistency is key. The more days a week you engage in the Curves full body workout, the better you will feel!