What is mental fitness?

15 Sep 2023 14:38PM by Kirsty McLean - Head of Wellbeing

mental fitness

We all know that doing exercise helps improve your physical ability and appearance, but what does exercise do for your mind? It’s not like your brain can do a burpee. 

What is mental fitness?

Mental fitness can be defined as maintaining a certain state of wellbeing, health, and comfort, and developing an understanding of how we behave, think, and feel. You become more able to respond to situations in a level-headed way and learn how to control your emotions. Being mentally fit has a positive effect on your overall way of living. 

As you start to build your mental fitness, you have the strength, quickness, and awareness to identify alterative options and routes. You reach a level of confidence and comfort within yourself.

When you are mentally fit, the way you interact with the world is completely different. You approach everything in a calm and rational way. Our body and mind have such a close link, when one starts to feel better, the other one does too. 


How does fitness help mental health?

Yes, some people exercise to get bigger muscles, or reduce their waistline, but you’ll find a large portion of gym goers and exercise lovers are there to improve their mental wellbeing. You feel more energetic and positive throughout the day knowing you woke up and did a workout or are planning on doing one later. As you focus on your fitness goals, you also improve your concentration and attention levels at work while increasing productivity. 

Regular exercise can have a positive affect on people suffering with depression and anxiety. You’d be surprised at how much better people feel after only a half an hour workout. The adrenaline you get in the gym, or on that run, has a real impact on other aspects of your life. No matter your level of ability, or weight, fitness is a powerful tool that can help you overcome something, help improve your mental health, or just better yourself in general.



How exercise can help depression and anxiety

Focusing particularly on depression, it has been found that exercise is actually as effective as antidepressants as a type of medication to treat mild to moderate signs of depression.  Exercise releases endorphins to your brain which increases your energy levels and improves your mood. When you exercise, it creates changes in your brain that reduce inflammation and creates the feeling of calmness. When working out, our brain is distracted by the exercises we are doing, which diverts your mind from negative thoughts.

Exercise can also be used as an effective and natural way to reduce anxiety levels. When working out, we are relieving any stress and tension we have by focusing on the exercises we’re doing which boosts our mental energy and physical ability. As we release those endorphins, we are creating a better mindset and overall sense of wellbeing. 

Other benefits exercise has on your mental health:

• Sharpens your thinking and memory.
• Improves your confidence and self-esteem.
• Helps improve sleep.
• Gives you more energy.
• Allows you to have stronger resilience. 

• You are more aware and switched on in situations.


Come along to one of our classes here. Or book a free 45-minute PT session to get you on the right track. Already feeling empowered to get back into the exercise routine you know and love? We are here ready to welcome you onto the gym floor, whether you enjoy cycling, or lifting weights. Virgin Active is the place you can get back to being your best self! (Don’t forget World Mental Health Day is the 10 October). 

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