The excitement around fitness studios and recreation centres beginning to open again is palpable, but for more reasons than just getting our physical bodies back in shape. Mental health and fitness are inextricably linked and incorporating fitness into our daily lives can have a hugely positive effect.

 

Engaging in regular physical activity can thwart symptoms of mental illness, improve cognitive function, and become an integral part of our day-to-day lives – here are some of the most positive links between physical and mental health.

 

Fitness and depression

 

Over the past year and a half, accounts of mental illnesses such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety have gone through the roof. While this is a grim reality, it is somewhat understandable, considering the spike in isolation, uncertainty, and stress that virtually the entire human population experienced due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

 

Even before the pandemic, fitness was a popular outlet for relieving the effects of various mental health issues. A Harvard study found that running for as little as 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of major depression by 26% – just imagine how much an hour long yoga class or going for a swim could help.

 

Exercise and brain function

 

The physical connection between exercise and brain function can greatly reduce stress. Effective exercise can increase your heart rate and send more oxygen to the brain, which can lead to the production of growth hormones, new brain cells and the development of neurons. Neurons transmit messages to various parts of the body, so having these in tip-top shape makes them more likely to send positive, calmer messages. Reducing brain fog and having a clearer mind can also help you make better decisions and handle stress more effectively.

 

mental health

 

Instills a sense of community

 

Socializing might seem like a foreign concept after the bizarre events many of us experienced in 2020 and early 2021. As much as we might enjoy staying at home and having alone time to a certain extent, being part of a community and socializing with like-minded individuals has benefits that can’t be ignored.

 

While exercising from home can be a means to an end, the camaraderie of a fitness class or having a gym friend adds another element to the experience. Exercising in a group environment also helps everyone stay motivated and consistent, which can lead to better overall physical and mental health results.

 

Fitness can be part of a routine

 

One of the best ways to improve one’s mental health is by finding a routine – an activity or habit to anchor every day to and instill a sense of consistency. Having something to look forward to, such as a weekly fitness class or a time slot at the gym, can be enough to encourage more positive and motivated thinking.

 

The benefits of planning and scheduling a few constant activities are plentiful, including less anxiety, less stress, and better sleep. Having access to facilities that use simple and streamlined member management software is a great way to easily explore new and fun classes that can do wonders for both physical and mental health. When there are fewer barriers between individuals and accessing fitness classes, they are that much more likely to hold themselves accountable and follow through.

 

Univerus Member Management is happy to provide fitness and recreation centers with the solutions they need to meet their customers’ needs. Want to learn more about our member management software and how it can transform your user experience? Contact us today.