This blog post was written by Trevor Conrod, Fitness Coach at Nivati. You can see more of their content on the Nivati platform and on the Nivati blog. If you want to learn more about Nivati, click here.
We all know regular exercise's numerous physical benefits for the body. From weight loss to bone strength, fitness has proven to be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. But how can physical exercise benefit social health? In this blog post, we'll explore the top 10 social benefits of exercise and how you can incorporate them into your lifestyle. The same incredible physical benefits seen from fitness can also be experienced socially. So put on your workout clothes, and let's get started!
1. Improved Mood
Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that make us feel good. This post-workout high can improve our mood, making us more likely to engage positively with others. We may be more social, outgoing, and open to new experiences, which can be particularly helpful for those with gym anxiety. While challenging at first, being in an uncomfortable environment will help those anxious feelings over time.
2. Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Exercise is a great stress reliever, and studies have shown that exercise can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve self-esteem and body image, and lower stress levels. By reducing these negative emotions, we're better equipped to navigate social situations and handle daily stressors.
3. Opportunity to Meet New People
Joining a sports team, fitness class, or gym can introduce us to like-minded people with similar interests. These new connections can lead to lasting friendships and bonds. Gyms and fitness classes are also great places to meet people focused on self-improvement and growth. We may find people who inspire us to become better versions of ourselves through their positive energy and encouragement.
I've seen these benefits at my club. Members have formed lasting bonds and stick together outside of the club. They are gaining both physical and social benefits from exercise.
4. Increased Accountability
Having a workout partner or attending a fitness class can keep us accountable for our exercise routine. Having another person to count on can increase our motivation and commitment to exercise. It's easy to say, "I'm too tired," or "I'll start next week," but some of those pressures are lifted off our shoulders when we have others routing for our success.
5. Improved Communication Skills
Exercise provides an excellent opportunity for improving communication skills as it often involves working with others in a group setting. Exercising in public environments teaches you to communicate effectively with others, including conveying clear instructions and listening carefully to feedback. This communication can improve teamwork and collaboration, which applies to other areas of life, such as work and personal relationships. Additionally, exercise can help build confidence and self-esteem, which also play a role in effective communication.
6. Sense of Community
Regular exercise can create a sense of belonging and foster a strong community with others who share the same interests. A saying goes, "If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people." The same expression can be applied here. To be successful in your health-conscious journey, you need to surround yourself with health-conscious people.
Being involved in a community whose values align with living a healthy and fit lifestyle puts you in a better position than someone who does not place themselves in the same situation.
7. Positive Role Modeling
Regular exercise can not only benefit an individual's physical and mental health, but it can also positively impact those around them. Individuals can be role models for family, friends, and children by prioritizing training and incorporating it into daily life.
A role model can encourage those around them to adopt healthy habits and an active lifestyle. Seeing someone they know and respect prioritize their health and wellbeing can motivate others to do the same. Incorporating regular exercise into your life can also create a powerful ripple effect of positive change in the lives of others.
8. Positive Social Norms
Regular exercise can promote positive social norms related to physical activity and health. These norms can encourage us to make healthy choices and engage in supportive social networks.
More thoughtful snack options, like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, or whole-grain crackers, can provide sustained energy throughout the day without causing a sugar crash. Workday exercises, such as stretching or taking a quick walk around the office, can help alleviate stress and reduce the harmful effects of prolonged sitting. And mindful breathing exercises, like deep breathing or meditation, can help reduce anxiety and improve focus and productivity. These are just a few examples of how you can promote positive changes in your environment.
9. Improved Body Image and Self-Acceptance
Exercise can significantly improve body image and self-acceptance by allowing you to focus on physical abilities rather than appearance. Physical activity can increase muscle strength, endurance, and overall health, fostering a sense of accomplishment and pride in one's body. Regular exercise can also create a sense of routine and discipline, feeling more in control of your body and life, ultimately increasing self-acceptance.
10. A Life of Fulfillment
In fitness, our results are often felt before being seen—for example, weight loss, muscle building, and cardio endurance. We often feel the changes in our day-to-day lives before seeing a visual difference. These changes can often be as exciting as seeing a number go down on the scale.
For example, a client of mine, Bob, gained core stability and lower body strength and felt a direct impact on his golfing game. He could golf for a longer time, golf better, and all without feeling pain or irritation the following day. Or another client, Rita, previously had severe knee pain where just walking up the stairs would cause pain flares. She worked hard to build the surrounding muscle groups and is now pain-free stepping up stairs, jogging, lifting, and squatting.
In both these examples, and many more, these clients saw the impacts of the hard work they put in inside the gym apply to outside the gym. And are no doubt living a more fulfilling life because of it.
Regular exercise helps us maintain physical fitness and provides many social benefits. It can be a great way to meet new people and build friendships. Regular exercise also helps reduce stress and anxiety, which can significantly impact our social lives.
We can use exercise to boost our self-confidence and self-esteem. When we feel confident in our abilities, we are more likely to take risks and try new things, which can lead to new experiences and opportunities for social connections, highlighting just how important it is to understand how physical exercise can benefit social health.
Regular exercise can significantly impact our overall wellbeing by reducing stress and anxiety, building new friendships, and boosting our confidence. So, if you want to enjoy the social benefits of exercise, consider starting your journey and reaping the rewards today!
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