Mental health benefits of exercise in a physical fitness class
It has been proven that people who exercise in a fitness class are less likely to experience depression and anxiety.
There's no denying the physical benefits of exercise are great, however, the benefits of exercise on mental health are equally exciting. Especially if the exercise is practiced together in a safe space and led by a certified instructor who will guide you through the workout.
Doing physical exercise together in a fitness class corresponds with connectedness and a sense of community.
Researchers in social neuroscience have discovered that being more connected to others helps us by promoting neuroplasticity, or the rewiring of our brain cells. Increased neuroplasticity enhances mental and physical health as well as cognitive function .
Exercising in a fitness class provides us with not just the physical benefits of exercise, but also with a sense of direction, focus, vitality, and motivation. It also helps us change the way we think about and react to emotions, which in turn makes us more resilient to the mental and emotional toll that stress may take.
This helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, making us behave differently, boosting our self-esteem, and reducing our feelings of loneliness by becoming more social.
How does exercise improve mental health?
Exercising in a fitness class is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. It has been proven that people who exercise in a fitness class are less likely to experience depression and anxiety.
The following are some of the primary mechanisms through which exercising in a fitness class leads to better mental health:
1. Help for Depression and Anxiety
Endorphins and dopamine, the "feel good" chemicals produced by the brain and spinal cord, are released into the bloodstream after vigorous physical activity, causing a surge of positive emotions such as happiness and euphoria.
Both endorphins and dopamine can chemically dull depression and anxiety in a similar way to opioids, but without the risks of addiction. The hormone also aids the body's primary stress response—the "fight or flight" mechanism .
2. Suppress Stress
In addition to producing happy chemicals, exercise can also reduce your body’s stress hormone levels by stimulating the production of neurohormones like norepinephrine, which not only improve cognition and mood but reversing the damaged neurons in your brain that are caused by stress hormones .
3. Power of Achievement
A good fitness class will usually have a certified trainer who will assist you in setting a personal goal during a course or program.
When you reach a personal milestone or break a personal record, they will inspire you to set a new one. This sense of achievement can be beneficial to your mental health.
People who receive assistance in setting realistic goals can also have higher self-motivation, self-esteem, and confidence. It also provides them with a sense of direction and something to strive for.
4. Increased Self-esteem and Self-confidence
Regular exercise can help you achieve a variety of physical goals, such as improving endurance, losing weight, and increasing muscle tone. All of those accomplishments can add up to a huge boost in self-esteem—and the confidence that comes with it.
5. Social Support
Attending a fitness class provides social interaction, which can improve your mental health by releasing dopamine, which can help with stress, anxiety, and depression. Combine these benefits with physical activity to maximize your mental health benefits.
The bottom line? Aside from the obvious physical benefits, getting active in a fitness class has a number of other advantages, one of which is improved mental health. Exercise and mental health are inextricably linked; one influences the other.
Are you interested in the mental health benefits of exercise in a fitness class? Why not give it a shot yourself? There are plenty of fitness classes in Singapore that will undoubtedly benefit you. And some of them use the Fitness Software powered by Rezeve, so you can book them from anywhere and at any time!
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- Davidson RJ, McEwen BS. Social influences on neuroplasticity: stress and interventions to promote well-being. Nat Neurosci. 2012;15(5):689-695. Published 2012 Apr 15. doi:10.1038/nn.3093
- Basso JC, Suzuki WA. The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review. Brain Plast. 2017;2(2):127-152. Published 2017 Mar 28. doi:10.3233/BPL-160040
- Jackson, Erica M. Ph.D., FACSM. STRESS RELIEF: The Role of Exercise in Stress Management. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal: May/June 2013 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 14-19 doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e31828cb1c9