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Fitness + Mental Health

I work out A LOT... and there's a good reason for it.

No, it's not to lose weight, although that can be an added benefit. The main reason I workout is for my mental health. Specifically, working out and fitness in general does a few key things for your mental health; it boosts endorphins, it improves mood and it burns through excess adrenaline.

When you workout or engage in any sort of fitness your body releases endorphins, the happy hormone. This makes working out a great way to produce hormones that combat depression and anxiety. I think of working out as a natural anti-depressant and a lot of the time it works well in combating negative feelings and emotions.

Workouts improve and boost your overall mood about your situation and about yourself. One thing that I love about weightlifting is it is empowering and makes me feel stronger. Those feelings of empowerment and strength help me take on my days with a more take charge and confident attitude.

Finally, exercise burns through excess adrenaline. I have a heart condition called mitral valve prolapse, which basically means one of the valves on my heart doesn't always close properly. Because of this, my body tends to produce excess adrenaline. It usually manifests as feeling like I'm at the edge of my seat or like I'm in a state of fight or flight even when I shouldn't be. Exercise helps me burn through some of that adrenaline and in turn actually keeps my anxiety levels lower overall.

With that, the #1 reason I workout is for my mental health. Toning up my muscles and losing excess fat has just been an added bonus for me. I've found that working out for my mental health actually keeps me much more motivated to stick to my routine because I want to feel better and I know how much worse I can feel if I don't move my body for at least 30 minutes a day.

I'd like to encourage you to find something about working out that motivates you intrinsically. Something that drives you to workout for your mental and emotional health and not just for the results you get on the scale or in the mirror.

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