Social Benefits of Exercise
We hear it every day; exercise is good for you. But exercise benefits more than just the way your body looks. Creating healthy habits and having the confidence to try new things are just the beginning of the positive ways exercise can impact your life.
Regular physical activity gives you the ability to create good habits that can have a lasting impact on your social life. This article is designed to show you all the important ways exercise can improve your social health and mental well-being.
Exercise and Social health and Connection
Starting a fitness routine can be challenging. One of the most important things to remember is that you are not alone. Whether you are having trouble getting motivated to work out or feel embarrassed about your skill level, working out with friends or in a group setting can help you overcome social anxiety and help you feel connected and included.
If your group of friends doesn’t share the same interest in physical activity as you, or you just moved to a new city and don’t know many people, joining a team sport or a group class is a great way to meet new people and make new friends with similar interests and goals. This helps build stronger bonds with those around you by being open to giving and receiving encouragement.
Accountability and Discipline
One of the biggest challenges of exercise is discipline. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, you didn’t get there by making excuses to skip workouts or bail on the hard days. Daily discipline will keep you on track for reaching your goals and make it easier to form lasting habits and lifestyle changes.
Take advantage of the fitness community around you to keep you accountable for your workouts. You are less likely to flake on an activity if you planned to meet up with a friend or paid for a personal training session or group class in advance.
Try having a friend or colleague be your accountability buddy if you are more prone to workouts with your at-home gym equipment. You can check in on each other’s progress and offer encouragement.
Improve Team Building Skills
For many people, there can be a lot of anxiety surrounding social situations. When put under pressure, many people struggle with rising to the occasion. You may have trouble communicating effectively with others or need practice giving instructions or feedback while at work. Maybe you are having a hard time getting through to your partner or have trouble seeing things from a different perspective. Team sports are a fun, low-pressure way of fine-tuning your communication skills. This can lead to stronger social bonds with coworkers as well as your close personal relationships.
Better Mental Health
Exciting things happen to your brain when you reach outside your comfort zone and try something new. When you prioritize fitness, you are also prioritizing your mental health. In addition to the physical changes in your body, your brain is also going through a positive transformation. Here are some of the positive mental changes exercise can have on you mentally:
- Exercise helps build confidence
- Regular physical activity improves your overall mood
- Exercise improves concentration
- Working out increases energy levels
- Exercise reduces stress hormones
- Having a physical outlet dramatically reduces stress levels
- Working out helps keep your brain sharp and makes learning new skills easier
- Staying physically fit increases life expectancy and helps ward off diseases and illness
Exercise and Elderly Adults
Exercise is beneficial to people of all ages, including the elderly. As we age, our body goes through a lot of changes. The older you get, the more bone density you lose. Regular exercise can help build back muscle mass and increase mobility in elderly adults. Older adults who work out regularly also have fewer problems when it comes to chronic pain and illness. Exercising can also be a great social outlet for older individuals who may be feeling lonely and isolated. Group fitness classes can give them a sense of independence and help to expand their social circles.
Social Development in Children
Like adults, children need to learn how to hone their social skills and adapt to new challenges and surroundings.
Exercise can give them the tools they need to navigate their way through many different situations in life. It is recommended that children six years of age and older spend 60 minutes a day engaged in physical activity. When you teach kids healthy habits from an early age, they are more likely to stick to these habits later in life. Children have a lot to gain from participating in team sports and group fitness activities. Here are some of the ways an active lifestyle can positively benefit children:
- Participation in team sports or group activities teaches children how to interact with others positively
- Team sports show children the importance of communication in a team dynamic
- Exercise Improves academic skills like focus and problem solving
- Exercise helps to build confidence and self-worth
- Regular physical activity can give children an outlet in which to process difficult emotions.
- Being a part of a team teaches kids about accountability and the importance of showing up for others
Making Regular Exercise a Part of Your Life
Starting a fitness routine may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s easier than you think with a little dedication and some effort.
Half the battle is deciding to make the change and sticking with that decision. The first step is the hardest but with perseverance and consistency comes change. Find something that you have never done before but always wanted to. Try reconnecting with a sport or fitness challenge you may have given up on in the past.
If you have children, try to get the whole family involved. Find local leagues and fitness centers near you and commit to a specific day or two dedicated to your fitness goals as a family.
Above all else, have fun with your fitness routine! Use it as a chance to gauge your progress and try all sorts of new things. Just be patient with yourself and remember all the positive ways exercise can benefit your life in the long term.