How going to the gym benefits my mental health

The gym is amazing for physical gain, but it has huge mental benefits too, writes Ja Wei Lee.

I want to know what people feel about going to the gym. Do they like it? Hate it? Hate but still go anyway? Well, I certainly didn’t like it when I started in the beginning of the year, but now it feels like I have grown a strong bond with the gym. Here, I give my take on how going to the gym has helped me - writes campus.

Why do people go to the gym? We go to the gym so as to build that desired body and to keep fit. That is the general case and was the case with me as well. I wanted to improve my fitness and be in better shape. What I didn’t realise was the mental health benefits it brings. You feel happier, more active and generate a more positive outlook towards life.

According to studies, we get the “ happy” feeling after exercising. This is because exercising releases feel-good endorphins, giving us a sense of euphoria. Doctors suggest that exercising may prove more beneficial for people suffering from depression rather than taking pills.

One of the benefits I did not expect was that going to the gym regularly helped me to build up self esteem. I had more confidence in my daily tasks. I also felt more energized when socialising and became more willing to meet people. Ever since going to the gym, I felt more competent when completing assignments and more willing to engage with the course modules.

I felt more resilient during tough times in college and life in general. Research suggests that working out helps deal with stress and anxiety. Physical exercises stimulate various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and also increases concentration of norepinephrine, a chemical that moderates the brain’s response to stress.

For starters, going to the gym would seem to be a daunting task. There is the heavy lifting, sweating, and the small issue of time management. You also need to pay close attention to the different postures and techiques so as to achieve positive results in your training. But when you get the hang of going to the gym, you won’t feel that it is that much of a burden.

“Why go the gym and make yourself suffer when you can chill and relax in the comforts of home?”, “I don’t have time to go the gym”, “Gym is a waste of time”. These statements would be common reasons why people often don't go to the gym. I feel that if you are really determined on your fitness goals, no one can really stop you but yourself. No pain, no gain. You work hard for what you want.

I didn’t particularly enjoy exercising before, but now I am happy that I go the gym. In the past, I exercise because it is healthy for your body. But ever since I go to the gym regularly, I enjoy the routine now. It is great for physical health as well as providing a positive boost in life.

Read other news on the city site of Dublin.

Looking back at myself, I feel that the gym has changed my life for the better. I am in better shape and have experienced a positive upturn in life.

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