Mental Health & Fitness

We all know the benefits practicing good physical health can have, but what about our mental health? The two actually work hand-in-hand, so taking care of your mental health is just as important!

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Why is Good Mental Health Important?

  • It’s been proven to help reduce stress

  • It helps to improve sleep

  • An increase in brain power and productivity

  • It increases self-efficiency

  • It produces endorphins and 'happy' hormones

DO!

1. Exercise for the right reasons!

The goal of fitness should always be to be healthy and get in shape, not necessarily to lose weight or to burn calories. This means to focus on overall building of strength and stamina, rather than using your workouts as a shortfall in your diet. This also means to pay attention to how much you’re working out and making sure not to overdo it! A bit of pain is good, but if you’re pushing yourself too hard, you can end up with many physical and mental pains.

2. Speak of yourself positively!

Similarly to above, surrounding yourself with negative or unrealistic ideas isn’t good for your mental health, and that includes the words you say about yourself. Even if you think your comment is a joke or self-depreciating, these comments can build up in the back of your mind. Surround yourself with positive comments and reinforcing thoughts and you’ll be sure to achieve your goals much easier.

3. Be realistic about your goals!

It’s important to not only set realistic goals, but be realistic about their progress as well. All body types are different and work at different paces. Just because someone else on Instagram lost 30 pounds in 3 months doesn’t mean you will as well. Your body may adapt quicker to certain moves than others, so it’s important to learn how your body works and set your goals accordingly.

DON’T!

1. Obsessively calorie count!

When we’re constantly worried about the calories going into our bodies, we sometimes can forget the other purposes of food, such as enjoyment! Direct correlations have been found between disordered eating and calorie counting apps. As such, it’s important to eat intuitively and make sure you actually enjoy what you’re eating to ensure a healthy mind. If you can’t remember the last time you had an apple, grab one and don’t worry about the calories!

2. Follow too many unrealistic fitness models on social media!

Following a small number of fitness profiles that inspire you to reach your goals is great, but make sure not to bombard your feed with them. Most of the time, the photos posted are quite unrealistic and can lead to us viewers subconsciously setting unrealistic goals and images for ourselves. Before following these types of profiles, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions, such as; Does this profile make me feel good about myself? Does this profile offer a good message? Will this profile’s content add value to my life?

3. Rely solely on a scale to track fitness progress!

The number on the scale isn’t always a good representation of progress. 125 pounds can look very different depending on body type, diet, habits, etc. Take the photos above for example - they are all the same person at the same weight at different points in life. 125 pounds can look very different depending on things like water weight, muscle mass, gym routines, protein intake, etc. - so make sure not to rely too much on your overall weight! If you still love using a scale, try investing in a smart scale, which is also able to track things like water weight and muscle mass for a more accurate picture of progress.

In conclusion, taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health, so make sure not to neglect it! The two work hand-in-hand, and a happy mind helps to make for a happy body as well.