They’re illnesses can affect any one of us.
Depression, anxiety and stress are ever-growing issues in today’s society, as one in five people will experience symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Remarkably, you’re ten times more likely to suffer from depression now than you were in 1945 and it’s a similar spine-chilling story when it comes to stress, with 9.9 million working days lost to stress in 2014/15 and 440,000 reported cases of stress, anxiety and depression in the UK.
Women are more likely to suffer from ill mental health with females twice more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression and up to three times more likely to suffer anxiety, yet 14% of women quit the gym within their first year of membership compared to just 8% of men, coincidence? I think not.
The average age for the onset of ill mental health symptoms is between 25 and 29, the perfect age to join a gym, right?
That’s where exercise comes in.
One option to relieve stress and depression is to join a sports team, but the competitive nature of a league or pressure situations can often compress and magnify stress or mental illness symptoms, with individuals often scared to talk to team-mates about key issues in their lives, leading to isolation and bringing out worse symptoms and potentially more serious mental health issues.
The ultimate stress release for many people is joining a gym. After all, there is no better feeling them smashing out a 12-rep personal best, no matter what exercise you’re doing.
The gym can act as a release whether you exercise by yourself, with a friend, a partner or in a group, the flexibility and self-control of gym life can often make potential mental health patients feel in control once again.
A downfall of illnesses such as stress and depression can be through not feeling in control of your own life and therefore by being in control of your workout and exercising, it can be a platform to feel in control once again.
Working out on a consistent basis will not only prove a routine that makes you feel in control, but regular exercise will lead to a better physical appearance of course.
Having a poor body image can be a major contributor to mental health issues, with 47% of people claiming a decline in the quality of their diet was a factor in ill mental health symptoms in a study by the Huffington Post, highlighting how your diet goes hand in hand with your workout routine in ensuring sound mental health.
It’s not just mentally however, the gym does provide a scientific benefit which can relieve mental health issues, often caused by a lack of endorphins in the brain.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters that elevate your mood and by joining a gym and completing your first five-kilometre run or a 40kg bench press, the brain will release endorphins, fuelling a better mood for the rest of the day.
Being healthy is about being mentally, physically and socially active and going to the gym can improve all three of these with a simple yet effective workout routine, a very simple, yet very effective way of improving and maintaining sound mental health.