Exercise and our mental health
It’s a well known fact that exercise is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy mind. This is backed up by cold hard statistics, for example, exercise has been proven to reduce the number of ‘poor mental health days’ by 40%.
This is great to hear, but it leaves out a large part of the story. Regular exercise requires consistent motivation, which tends to contradict with the effects of ‘poor mental health days’. Thus, we’ve decided to delve deeper into the science of mental health and have called upon our old friend for some help…
All toe tapping, hip shaking, arm waving. MUSIC.
Music and the mind
So how do our brains interact with music, and how does this positively impact our motivation?
From a physical standpoint, playing music has been scientifically proven to reduce your blood pressure and your heart-rate. The gym can be an anxiety inducing situation, and creating associations between exercise and stress can be a top-tier way to destroy your motivation. Bringing music into the equation is going to reduce this stress, and make smashing your fitness goals less of a fight or flight threat.
We can take this a step further and describe music as a form of escapism. Feeling stressed after a long day at work? Actively listening to music that represents the total opposite of how your feeling is sure to help. It’s much harder to feel miserable when your mind is flooded with feel good music.
We can’t argue with chemistry
We’ve talked physical and we’ve talked emotional… let’s talk chemical. It’s common knowledge that dopamine is released when we listen to music. The knock on effect this has on exercise is what’s really interesting. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released ANY time we feel pleasure. Our brain is addicted to this feeling, and will actively seek the situations we know lead to dopamine release.
You’re well aware of the chills you feel during a feel-good tune. Well this is the effects of dopamine working its magic.
Using music to train your brain into expecting dopamine is an effective way of motivating yourself to exercise. It's pretty logical:
- Associate the gym with stress and anxiety? Your brain will avoid this, and your motivation will be low.
- Associate the gym with your feel good playlist and the subsequent dopamine release? Your brain will actively seek this, and your motivation will grow!
Self development feels GOOD!
So… you’ve got to the point where you’ve trained your brain to expect positive reinforcement when you exercise. Exercise is great for your physical fitness and mental health. However, there are a few additional benefits of music on your mind, that stretch beyond just exercise.
- Community- Music brings people together. Music creates a common interest among people of all fitness levels. Being part of something, bigger than how you place your own fitness ability, is great for motivation and mental health.
- Identity- Expression is SO important. Free stylin’ may seem daunting, but having this space to be your true self is optimum for feeling great. Learning how to feel comfortable in who you are and how you move is a form of self-care.
We see community and identity as a vital part of #VillageLife.
Shake it till you make it
Hopefully we’ve convinced you that music is a good start to improving your relationship with exercising. At Village Gym, we have a variety of group fitness classes that utilise these feel good effects:
- Les Mills Sh’Bam is like a night on the town, without the sore head in the morning. Simple moves, and party tunes make this perfect for you and a buddy to get your groove on.
- Les Mills BodyJam is high energy and gives you plenty of time for free-styling. If you’re eager to express yourself, this is the class for you.
- Les Mills Barre is inspired by classical ballet moves. Despite the low intensity exercise, this feel-good class is certain to leave you feeling relaxed and mindful.
- Zumba is the mother of all dance workouts. Grab a slice of South America for the ultimate escapism experience.
Book a space on the Village Gym app and start the journey towards revitalising your relationship with exercise!