Why Going To The Gym Is A Rock-Solid Plan

Exercise bike lot in gym

The Importance Of Exercising

Growing up, some of us think to ourselves “Why does that kid work out? Who in their right mind wants to put so much effort only to grow some muscles?” And if we did want to be big like our peers, we certainly did not want to put in the work. But little did we know that going to the gym would deliver us confidence and happiness.

If you have not started going to the gym and you are above age 30, it is not too late! The first step in succeeding at the gym is obtaining a membership and going there; if you do that, you have won half the battle.

So why should anyone go to the gym? For starters, it is important to exercise. It is no secret that exercising is important for your physical and mental health; it gets you in shape and feeling good about yourself.

The health benefits of working out:

  • It can make you feel happier (it improves your mood and decreases feelings of depression, anxiety and stress)
  • It can help with weight loss (it increases your metabolic rate and helps you burn more calories, maximizes fat loss and maintains muscle mass)
  • It builds and maintains strong muscles and bones (it stimulates muscle building through better absorption of amino acids (the building blocks of muscles) and helps build bone density, which prevents osteoporosis later in life)
  • It is an energy booster (it can help reduce fatigue)
  • It reduces your risk for chronic diseases (it decreases blood pressure and high cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular fitness and reduces belly fat)
  • It can help skin health (it increases your body’s natural production of antioxidants, which help protect skin cells from free-radical damage and stimulates blood flow, helping slow down the process of skin aging )
  • It improves brain function (it increases your heart rate which results in a better blood flow to your brain, it increases the size of the hippocampus – the memory bank of the brain, promoting increased retention of memories and better learning)
  • It can help you relax and sleep better (the energy that is lost during exercise helps your body recuperate during sleep, the increased body temperature during exercise promotes a drop in temperature during sleep, improves insomnia and helps you feel more energized during the day)
  • It improves chronic pain (it raises your pain tolerance and reduces your pain perception)
  • It can promote a better sex life (it boosts sex drive, improves sexual performance, improves blood circulation and cardiovascular function, increases the frequency of orgasms and helps reduce erectile dysfunction)

As you can see, working out, whether through aerobic exercise or resistance training (preferably both) has many health benefits that will help turn you into a stronger and more resilient person. And this results in the common denominator of happiness, which is one of the core principles of The DSM Ready Movement.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Health Benefits Of Playing Tennis

Man playing tennis on clay courts

The Green Balls

The benefits of tennis can be reaped from just about anyone. It is a lifetime sport that can be started at any age, from as young as age 2 to as old as . . . well, that depends on you! Most importantly, it is fun! You can participate in singles or doubles; doubles involves two players vs. two players (make sure to pick a partner that you get along with or you are in for a two hour nightmare). Most people I have met who play tennis have a great character: they are motivated, fun and enthusiastic individuals. Tennis connects and brings people together, can be played all year round on multiple surfaces, (Har-Tru classic green clay, red European clay, grass and hard) indoors or outdoors, and is not that expensive to play. All you need is a tennis bag, a couple of racquets, strings, overgrip, clothes and shoes and a smile on your face (maybe some proper footwork too).

What are the health benefits of playing tennis? The sport increases your aerobic capacities, lowers your resting heart rate and blood pressure, improves metabolic function, increases bone density, lowers body fat, improves muscle tone/strength/flexibility and increases your reaction time. Tennis also has mental health benefits: it increases your alertness and tactical thinking, enhances the neural connections in your brain and reduces stress. Tennis is also very social; you can talk to your opponent in between games, sets or while you are hitting balls. And if you are playing at a country club, you can enjoy the delicious food and beverages served (no pun intended) after a long sweaty match! Lastly, tennis offers an escape from the world and your daily routine; when you step on that court, you become disconnected from the troubles of the world and focused on something relaxing and peaceful.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Importance Of Exercising On Your Mental Health

Attractive woman jogging on stadium bleachers in blue spandex

Exercise Helps You Escape Reality

There is something magical about putting your body in motion. If you learn to be focused during your exercises, whether that is through music or socializing, you will find out very quickly that you enter a “fitness tunnel” that keeps you motivated to push harder during your workouts. This results in endorphins or “endogenous opioid neuropeptides” or “feel-good hormones” to be released by your Central Nervous System and Pituitary Gland into your system to help you feel good. Your body literally interprets the intense exercise as fatigue and injury, and so it rewards you with natural painkillers to feel good. And guess what happens when you feel good? You keep exercising because you want more. And guess what happens when you keep exercising? You are distracted from depression, anxiety, worries, stress, work, relationships, etc.

Exercising is a natural remedy for treating mental health issues. Your body and mind click during exercising like two pieces of puzzle; they are both preoccupied with the workout. But when you are suffering from a mental illness, your mind is preoccupied with the symptoms and your body is just there, not really doing anything – see the disconnection? Now that is not to suggest that you should no longer take psychiatric medications if you start exercising. It’s always best to talk to your psychiatrist about any changes in treatment, but I believe exercise and medications is better than medications alone.

Is exercising hard? Sure it is. You have to maintain your motivation, establish a routine, actually step outside your home and perform the activities. But is going to work or school hard? Just because you don’t get paid during exercising doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. With exercising, you reap the benefits that same day: your circulation (blood flow) is increased, your LDL (bad cholesterol) goes down and your HDL (good cholesterol) goes up, your glucose (sugar) is burned, your muscles start breaking down and rebuilding into a more fit and lean structure, and lastly: you are taking care of your mental health; you feel happier! The DSM movement is all about excellent mental health and proper fitness!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)