Published on September 18, 2023

The Importance of Exercise to Mindset

The right mindset in anything is essential, but it’s particularly important in exercise.  In this article, we uncover the importance of exercise to mindset and vice versa and will be looking at how exercise can help mindset and how the correct mindset helps with exercise.  Examples of this will be provided along with sources,  clinical evidence and quotes. 

Exercise helps

Apart from mindset, exercise helps in many other ways; some may appear unusual, even far-fetched, until you understand the science behind how they have worked.  On this website, we have covered many of the topics which support how exercise can help. Some of these subjects include sleep,  suicide and avoiding burnout. 

Clinical Evidence

Sleep

Sleep can be improved with exercise,  in the study by Griffiths C, Hina F, Pollard L, et al. ‘A qualitative study of early intervention psychosis (EIP) service patient’s experience of sleep, exercise, sleep hygiene advice and Fitbit wearable activity and sleep tracker’. Open J Psychiatry. 2021;11(02):91-106.  It is recognised that sleep hygiene can be improved with exercise, and this is proven using a wearable activity tracker.  We recognise that sleep is important for ensuring energy levels are maintained, which in itself can also reduce the chances of burnout. 

Suicide

In the study, Students Struggling with Suicide, Jill M. Harkavy-Friedman, PhD, identifies that sleep,  diet and exercise are critical components that can help to avoid suicidal ideation as Students head back to school.  The article speaks to the benefit of exercise in adjusting mindset and mood.

Burnout

Initially, it may feel counterintuitive, but exercise has also been known to help prevent burnout. It helps highly stressed individuals to separate themselves from their jobs This is evidenced in the article 8 Tips for Psychiatrists to Prevent Burnout. Douglas Newton, MD, MPH. This study also mentions how exercise can help sleep and how the quality of sleep will assist in avoiding burnout. 

Depression

Exercise is recommended for those suffering from various levels of depression reason for this is that it provides a needed lift.  This lift is sometimes referred to as a runner’s high, as the body creates endorphins, a hormone that provides the sensation of euphoria and helps with mood stabilisation. Alternatively, Acupuncture is also used to manage depression and PTSD, but this is more about rebalancing the energy it can give the recipient. 

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“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental states.” Carol Welch

“I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.” – Jim Carrey

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Evidence and opinions

Both evidence and opinions of these examples speak to the benefit of exercise in your daily routine. They confirm that exercise helps to promote better sleep, avoid suicidal thoughts, reduce the possibility of burnout and can be a support for those suffering from depression. 

This proves that exercise can improve how you feel, improving your mindset.  It is then your mindset that continues to assist you with your commitment to exercise. 

Examples of where this happens

Losing weight – If someone chooses to or is told to lose weight, their physician can encourage exercise to supplement their diet with healthier foods and lifestyle.  Exercise is encouraged because it improves metabolism and provides results. These results give visual feedback, which encourages that person to continue with the effort they are making.  In this scenario, exercise helps mindset,  which then helps the individual to continue exercising.  Exercise acts as a catalyst of change through feeling better,  performing better and seeing results. 

Running a marathon – Choosing to run a marathon and having the right mindset before starting the training process is critical.  This is an example where having the right mindset before training is more important than general fitness and exercise.  Typically, those who choose to run a marathon are interested in participating or are already running socially. The commitment levels for this include a structured training plan, a sensible meal plan and ensuring enough time to complete runs to avoid injury. The mindset is essential as the commitment level is so much higher than with other things in the short to medium term.  

Getting fit or going to the Gym –  when you make the decision to get fit or go to the gym often is motivated by goals; these goals may include weight loss,  toning,  health perhaps even mobility.  Whatever your goal, if you start with a Gym, then 90% of the time, you will be inducted or provided with a free  PT session. This is important for the Gym and you to ensure that you conduct yourself safely and see results.  Gyms know if your mindset is correct and you see results that, you will continue coming to the Gym and paying them money.  Therefore, no other examples are more commercially transparent than this one. 

Where do I start? 

If you want to exercise but do not feel up to the Gym, home exercise can be just as effective. You could consider exercise equipment from Mirafit. Websites like this can provide large or small equipment to help you with your exercise, from apparatus such as Parallettes to EZ Curl Bars and everything in between. 

Summary

The evidence confirms that exercise can improve mindset. Examples of this included sleep,  suicide,  depression,  and burnout.  We then provided three examples where fitness/exercise and mindset are interchangeable and form part of a self-perpetuating method of improvement and benefit. It seems conducive that being fit and having a fit mind, while not mutually exclusive, correlate with evidence to support this. If you are feeling low, a walk could pick you up enough to take the following steps to improve your mindset. If you are working towards a personal or educational goal, then consider including exercise in your regime to help focus your mind and balance your approach; whatever your situation or goals, including exercise, should have a positive impact on your mood, performance and mindset. For more health and well-being articles, search the blog. 


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