Even though we are in June now, I'd like to wrap up Mental Health Month with one final post from personal trainer, yogi, and nutrition buff, Bret Gornik. Bret is the co-founder of Live Better and strives every day to do just that and help others do so as well. -Sarah
You just finished your favorite workout class. You are exhausted, but you smile. You are tired, but you high five everyone around you. You can barely stand, but you are proud.
Finding that perfect workout or class you love is the key to keeping your positive vibes up.
Why is exercise a necessity?
Exercise provides you with a sense of mental wellbeing. You feel motivated and accomplished. There is a drive to succeed in other areas of life when you are fit and healthy. The mental impact of a great workout is equally as important as the physical.
Exercise is physical. Every class from yoga to high intensity interval training (HIIT) takes body control and strength. Your body reflects your workouts. During the class, you feel the burn. After the class, a shower has never felt so good. The next day you feel the soreness throughout your entire body.
We know to prepare ourselves for the physical aspects of a workout: eat right, warm up, stretch out, and hydrate.
These are extremely important. You need to be in prime physical condition to perform at a high level.
But, what about the feelings? What about your mindset? What about your attitude?
Crush stress with a workout
Your mind is a reflection of your physical self. Exercise drives a positive mental state. The intellectual aspect of a good workout is, honestly, more important that the bodily feeling.
There is a direct correlation with the all of the positive emotions felt after a class. That smile, those high fives, and the sense of pride are all an emotional expression of your physical wellbeing. This is real. Science has proven that working out increases endorphin levels–the feelings of happiness. There is proven research supporting that it is not just a good feeling, but a biological shift in your system which creates a sense of euphoria. This feeling increases longevity, strength, and gives a sense of joy.
We live in a society flooded with media, constant updates, pressure, and stress. These aspects of daily life add up. Your iPhone is packed with instant news, and you probably catch yourself checking it more than you know you should. You jump from meeting to meeting all day at work, and need to perform at the highest level to stay competitive. Life today moves fast.
When you are able to release these pressures through physical activity, not only are you feeling great, you are mentally detoxifying. One hour solely having to concentrate on physical movement does wonders to your physiological state. There is no Instagram or Snapchat, and the news is not flashing in your face. It’s just you working hard to finish your last set. Getting away from these distractions flushes out your mind and gives you a clearer mindset.
Find your workout soulmate
They key to experiencing this release is finding a workout you love. I stress the word love. This should not be something you “have” to do, but something you WANT to do. When you find a class or workout that is full of energy, passion, and excitement, the physical action will translate into an optimistic mental state. Knowing you’ve given something your all fills the mind with forward-thinking thoughts. These thoughts translate into a progressive lifestyle. This lifestyle leads to true happiness.
Look for a class that makes you comfortable. If you need to relax, yoga or Pilates is a great start. If you want to sweat more than you ever have, HIIT or cycling can push the boundaries. If you like more one-on-one attention, find a personal trainer or small group format. If you just want time for you, take a jog, find a workout video, or put on your headphones and head to the weight room yourself. Whatever it may be, having this time for you and performing regular physical movement is the key to living better.
Doing the workout and being consistent is the most important part. Find your motivation and keep at it.
Test out a few different classes and formats. Give this the time it deserves to make sure you are feeling the way you should feel after a session: fulfilled, empowered, and just plain happy. Stay positive through this process, and realize that it is a process. This is a lifelong affair and not a fad. Take the time to really understand what you are getting out of a workout. There are so many different options now, that there IS an ideal workout out there exactly for you.
Finding this way of physical expression will translate to your work, relationships, and overall attitude. It will evolve from a feeling of pride after each session, to a lifestyle full of positive momentum.
Once you find your workout, keep at it. Continue to improve and work harder. Enjoy it every single time.
Find your workout, get moving, and have the best day ever.