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Does working out really help your mental health? If so how?

Does working out really help your mental health? If so how?

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  1. Working out directly releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. These are all “feel good” chemicals that have a direct impact on your mental health. Just increasing your levels of these and nothing else improves your mental health. Personally, this is the number one reason for me. It’s my main treatment for anxiety and I have found I start getting grouchy if I don’t work out enough.

    Getting your body in better shape also improves your general quality of life. If things like walking up stairs takes a little bit less effort, then there is a little bit less negativity going on in your life. For some people, this can be a major improvement. Significant changes in physical fitness can result in significant changes in things like sleep quality.

    There is also the fact that for some people a contributor to poor mental health is dissatisfaction with how they look. Improving their physical fitness can alleviate this and in some cases turn someone’s body from something they are ashamed of to something they are proud of.

    Finally, the process of setting goals and achieving them can do wonders for building someone’s confidence in general. If someone gets a bit of experience in setting achievable goals along the lines of “I want to be able to lift X lbs” or “run a mile in Y minutes”, they can have an easy and controlled way to be able to qualify goals and unquestionably achieve them. This can be important for helping someone reframe the idea that they can’t achieve anything. Once their confidence has been built in this way enough, it can start to spill over to other aspects of their life. This has the ultimate result of raising someone’s general confidence and self-esteem, which can be a great way to ease mental burdens and improve mental health.

  2. Exercise provides enormous mental benefits. Here’s a scientific article on how exercise benefits your brain physically:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2680508/
    Issues with mental health like depression can actually physically damage your brain, and exercising can counteract this by helping keep your brain healthy, and releasing endorphins that will give you an emotional boost.

    Personally, I’ve found that regular exercise calms frustration, anxiety, and anger. If you’re feeling bad, going for a run or doing some push ups can help you release feelings that are making you feel tense.

  3. It helped me for a while with confidence, until mid college when it became a catalyst for anxiety attacks. Was a weird time. I like to swim now, when there isn’t a pandemic happening. Not for confidence but for normal health

  4. Working out will only help your mental health if you have poor mental health as it relates to self-esteem and self image, low energy, dating/relationship life. If you have mental health issues that are more severe, workout is no substitute, see a professional. don’t self diagnose either, although it doesn’t hurt to workout for a host of other reasons (better sleep, energy, clarity, better skin, joint flexibility, body composition, better health, etc.)

  5. I think it’s a release of endorphins when you exercise. Also healthy choices in general help mental health – good food, lots of water and exercise are all great for feeling better mentally.

    Exercise though I’d say for me is the most important, if I don’t exercise for over a week it drives me a bit mad

  6. I find it clears my mind by forcing me to focus on just my activity. It probably depends on the type of exercise. Being outdoors has been shown to be great for mental health, but depending on the type of person you are, a situation like a gym might be overwhelming/make you feel inferior to others, thus hurting your mental health. My advice is that the benefits of working out significantly outweigh the negatives regardless of the setting, but take the time to find the right one for you.

  7. It’s a win win win, better health, look better, feel better, men and women compliment you later on. There’s almost no downsides and all upsides which generally lead to better mental health overall. It can also be a great outlet for processing and getting frustration or excess energy out. This just assuming you’re doing some repetitive exercises. Let’s not even discuss the major benefits to class exercises like martial arts or dancing that can add to your social needs and help other areas of mental health.

  8. On a rare good day of working out, yes it helps.

    For me personally, I feel like typically when I work out it makes me feel so exhausted that I have no energy for anything else that day which can sometimes not make me feel so good mentally or emotionally.

    For me, I just need to find a better balance I think. But just working out in general does not automatically make me feel good. Figuring out what works best for YOU is important.

  9. yeah, just going for a run and getting a good sweat feels so good. Makes you feel better about yourself. Makes your bowels run better. Just gives you a rush of happiness.

  10. It does, all the science stuff has been posted, but it can be detrimental if you go to extremes (body dysmorphia, becoming obsessive with it, working out in a way that leads to injury, etc).

  11. I’ll just do an anecdotal and armchair-psychologist angle here.

    1.) Your mental health is strongly tied to reward centers in your brain. Those centers are activated whenever you achieve a goal. It can be a simple goal, like washing the dishes. Or it can be a tough goal, like biking a little bit longer/faster or adding another 5lb to your lift. It can also be a goal in a video game. All three are good for your mental health. But you’ll get more benefit from the first two because they contribute to long-term goals as well.

    2.) Ehhhh I haven’t worked out enough to finish this. Just focus on the first point for now.

  12. Simple way of looking at it is that if you work out you look better, so people look at you differently meaning you look at yourself differently.

    Also what someone before said about endorphins, I will get really tired in my gym but feel really good because i smashed it and it was good 🙂

    Gives you a target to work for – time for 5k , max rep for deadlift and so on

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