MENTAL HEALTH AND EXERCISE
I have been asked a few times about this question now and thought I should elaborate on it for you all to be able to get a better understanding about a subject that is more common than you think. The question is, 'What beneficial effects does exercise have on mental health'?
Firstly from a wide range of experiences, also including myself, mental health is very common these days, and unfortunately a lot of my clients fall under this category. Now when I started out as a Personal Trainer I knew it wasn't going to be all fun and games in the gym, when being a coach/motivator you have this responsibility that your clients are putting their trust in you for you to be able to help them reach their goals no matter what. Since being in the fitness industry I have learnt a lot, being that it isn't just about the exercise one hundred percent of the time, mental health, self love/respect and overall individuals aspect on life in general comes into play also.
When someone comes to me, wanting to invest their time, effort and perseverance into personal training sessions, I become as you say a 'go to figure' to them. I am someone they are trusting, as I have promised I will assist them in reaching their goals whether that be physically and or mentally. I become a barrier, someone they can talk to knowing the confidentiality involved. It's strange to think, coming from a lot of experience, that people are more inclined to open up to a 'stranger' type figure in their life; such as their Personal Trainer, as someone to talk to about anything and everything. At first I had no idea that personal training would bring so much more to the table than just working out, but that's why I love my job. There have been a lot of sessions where my clients will turn up, and we will just sit and talk for half of our session, as they wish to just unleash, in the sense of get everything off their chest before working out and I believe that is so beneficial for the mind body and spirit.
From one of my clients perspectives, a personal training session is like pain relief. They are able to come into the session and give it all they have, for those minutes of their own 'me time' they forget, they forget what ever it is that was burdening them, and take the time to put their sole focus on the exercises and hard work they are putting in, forgetting about any issues surrounding them.
Personally I have had clients come to me, timid and petrified of even setting foot into a gym let alone put their full trust in a complete stranger, to help them change their life for the better. They proceed to tell me that they are currently on depression medication and that they had been on them for a while, seeing not much difference, to then 4-8months down the track of coming to my personal training sessions, have them bouncing into each session with a spring in their step, saying how amazing they are feeling. To have been told by their partner or loved ones how much more energy they have, how they don't come home upset from work each day anymore, and how full of life they seem, to then have a client come up to me and say she's is in the clear and has had no need for depression medication anymore, honestly blows me away!
Exercise is such an amazing outlet, you may not suffer from mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and or depression, but can still find the relief in exercising. It clears peoples' minds, it challenges your mind and body to new limits that you weren't aware of before and can really improve your well being for the better.
I am in love with the feeling of satisfaction, being satisfied with how much my clients can improve week by week, improving their mental state whether it needed to be improved on or not, I see my clients open up to me as the sessions go on like a blossoming flower and I can't help but smile.
Mental health is a common issue, but it can be helped. Exercise is beneficial to the human body in so many ways or another and I am here to preach this statement that I can HELP YOU!