Why going to the gym is good for your mental health

Firstly I‘d like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, don’t forget we have our Fit 4 Xmas offer on till the end of December. This is a 4 week membership and is ideal as a present. We also have vouchers for the Green Rooms Beauty Salon if you’re struggling for gift ideas.

Lots of members seem to be enjoying following Stephen’s progress as we help him recover from a very serious spinal operation. He’s continuing to do brilliantly. Today we went through the more difficult of his two programmes. It focuses on strength, balance and coordination incorporating free weight and bodyweight exercises.

On 3 out of his 5 exercises we managed to increase his resistance, which obviously shows just how much Stephen is progressing. Please can I just point out how important it is to progress your programmes, you MUST do something called PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD on a regular basis or you will not get anywhere with your training. Here’s an explanation of progressive overload and ways to make sure you are doing it.

It basically means frequently increasing the strains on the musculoskeletal system, which will encourage gains in muscle size, strength, and muscular endurance. So if you want bigger, stronger, faster and more toned muscles (remember this also means a massive fat burn) you must keep making your muscles work harder than they did before. The best way to do this is by increasing the resistance but as I’ll explain there’s 5 different ways to get progressive overload.

If your goal is to increase strength, muscle size or muscle tone the progressive overload principle is the only way you will do this! It doesn't just apply to resistance training, it can also be applied to cardiovascular training.

Here are the five ways you can achieve progressive overload

  1. Increase the resistance (lift a heavier weight).
  2. Increase your reps (do more lifts).
  3. Increase your volume (do more sets of lifts).
  4. Increase the frequency (doing more training sessions on a muscle group for example) and finally
  5. Decrease rest between sets (simply rest for shorter times so that the muscles are put under more stress).

There’s one final thing I’d like to mention after a discussion with Stephen in today’s session, how does going to the gym affect mental health? The answer is MASSIVELY. I’m not going to go into this too much as I’m not really qualified to but it’s obvious to me after 14 years in the fitness industry that regularly going to the gym or doing something active helps your mental health as much as it does your physical health.

If you struggle with your mental wellbeing or know of anyone who does my biggest bit of advice would be to get in the gym, pool, sports centre etc. It will give you a focus, a way to de-stress, a method to feel in control, a reason to get out of bed, a way to improve self-esteem and love yourself again, a way to feel achievement, a structure to be more social, a means to switch off from work life, a way to inspire success in your life …. I could go on and on. I’ve been lucky enough to work at the same gym for most my adult life and many of the happiest, friendliest, most successful and content people I’ve come into contact with I encountered here at Pulse, personally I think that says a lot.

As always I hope you enjoyed the read and you’ve had a great 2018.