The importance of physical fitness on mental health cannot be understated. There have been many studies performed that show a positive impact of physical fitness on mental health.
I am here today to explore some of the well known benefits, and also some not so well known benefits of physical fitness.
Mental health has been on the forefront of the minds of our society lately. After Simone Biles essentially dropped out of most of the 2020 Summer Olympics, people have been talking.
It seems like everyone is now an expert on mental health. Not unlike physical fitness, mental health is something that is tricky. Every single person is different, and not everyone will react the same way to different stimuli.
What I can offer today is information about the importance of physical fitness on mental health.
Physical fitness produces serotonin
When we think about the short term, immediate benefits of physical activity, this is one of the best arguments for fitness.
You know that great feeling when you finish a week of work. Or when you come home and see your dog for the first time in a while. Maybe when you see your significant other after being gone all day?
These are all serotonin producing events. And you can have more of them, even consistently throughout the day.
Physical fitness increases brain activity, and increases production of serotonin. This leads to better self esteem, and a more positive outlook on life.
If you can workout with any form of consistency, this will become your new norm. You will overall be a more positive and happy person. Isn’t that what you want? I have never met anyone that wanted to be more miserable than they already are.
Physical fitness creates a better sense of self worth
Let’s piggyback off of the brain activity argument. By now, you see a trend. You can snowball your positivity for the rest of your life if you commit to building better exercise habits.
Even if you are in the worst shape of your life, you will still feel great after a workout.
The goal here is to continue that trend of working out on a regular basis. This will in turn help you reach your fitness goals. As you see small changes in your body, your sense of self worth will increase as well.
Most people seeking fitness advice are overweight, but I personally had a different story. I was really underweight. I was 6’1” and 135 lbs. People would call me anorexic, and I found it quite annoying.
It wasn’t until I learned about physical fitness and proper nutrition that I was able to put on 55lbs over the course of a few years. My self image increased dramatically, and I cannot even remember my life outlook back when I was skinny.
I tell you this because the mindset you are currently in is not permanent. You can do things to alter it. Physical activity is one of the best ways to do that.
Physical activity decreases risk of cardiovascular disease
This is a well known benefit of physical fitness, but what does it have to do with mental health? Think about this. If you are overweight, you know for a fact that your chance of cardiovascular disease is significantly increased.
This will in turn cause you to think about this on a regular basis. This will lead to stress and anxiety about what the future holds.
Eventually, you will either continue down the path you are on, or do something about it. Now do you see how the risk of cardiovascular disease could mess with your mental health?
Society’s role in the importance of physical fitness on mental health
Here is something that you might not consider. Everything that you see, watch, consume, read, and interact with are all part of what society has placed in our lives.
When you see a movie, the characters are usually in good shape. People post their best pictures on instagram. You read articles about successful people. Billboards show what your life could be like.
Everything that we see has an impression on our mental health, whether we like it or not.
Really what it comes down to is comparison. We see the shredded guy in the movie and wonder why we don’t measure up. We see the smoking hot girl that seems to be living her best life on instagram and wish we could be living that same life.
The best advice here is to stop consuming so much, and start producing your own results. Take your first step and let’s see the results that you can come up with.
This is not about competition. It is about making a habit of physical fitness, and creating a life that you can be proud of.
Main Point: Importance of physical fitness on mental health
By now, you know the importance of physical fitness on mental health. We now know that in the short term, physical fitness produces serotonin and makes us feel good about ourselves.
In the long term, physical fitness can create the best version of ourselves. We no longer need to aspire to be the best looking person on TV or instagram. How about just the happiest person that we know?
If you are overweight and don’t know where to start, I also created an article on HIIT workouts to do at home for beginners.
If you are underweight, I wrote an article about going from a skinny body to a muscular body.
It doesn’t matter what your goals are, there is no denying that physical activity plays an important role in well being.