Going to the gym is mentally beneficial during the holidays
October is almost over which can only mean one thing…the holiday season is here! While this can be a wonderful time of the year, it can also be very stressful when dealing with friends, family, finances, and just the overall insanity of the holidays. This stress can build up if we don’t allow ourselves time to get into the gym or work out in the midst of the holiday festivities. People know that working out can help their psyche, but here’s how getting to the gym actually helps your mental health during this crazy time of the year.
In general, exercising can provide various benefits to your mental well being on top of the physical benefits that are more synonymous with going to the gym. Getting some exercise can help your mind by improving things like your memory, self-esteem, sleep patterns, and energy levels. While these are important all year long, they may be more crucial during the next couple of months. During this time of year you especially need to: sharpen your memory so that you don’t forget someone’s wish list and remember whose dinner party you have today vs. tomorrow, increase your self-esteem so that you don’t feel like you have to miss out on all of the delicious holiday feasts (with strong self-control, you won’t feel as bad if you reach for that extra scoop of cranberry sauce or steal one of Santa’s cookies on your holiday cheat days), and improve your sleep pattern so that you’ll have increased energy levels to help you fight the crowds at the mall or simply get through family dinner after family dinner.
Getting to the gym can also serve as a great way to de-stress during this anxiety-inducing time of the year. Working out is often a way that people distract themselves from their responsibilities. Simply running for 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of depression by approximately 26%, according to a study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Use the gym as a place to take a break from thinking about work, gift exchanges, family, or whatever it is that is stressing you out and causing you to feel unnecessarily anxious during this typically magical time of the year. Focus on all the little things during your workout to really fight anxiety. Rather than just trying to lose yourself in your exercise, try to focus on your breathing pattern, engaging the correct muscle groups, or simply your surroundings. This can help you truly relax and use your workout as a time of meditation.
Working out can also make fun times even more fun. Seeing all of your friends and family, watching that Thanksgiving day football game/Christmas day basketball game, gift exchanges, and all of the delicious holiday food can become more enjoyable following a workout. After a good workout, your body releases a bunch of what people call “happy chemicals”. This release of extra serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine will help you enjoy all of these different aspects of the holidays even more. On top of these endorphins being released, exercising can actually help bolster your immune system, making it less likely that you will have to spend the holidays and time off of work/school stuck in bed with a cold or the flu. This means that you can be out and about taking on everything that the holidays have to offer.
If you’re looking for an escape from all of the holiday craziness, contact us! Our team of trainers would love to help you out this holiday season!