As a personal trainer, exercise and physical activity can significantly impact your client’s mental health and well-being. In addition to being an excellent workout for the body, exercise is also great for the mind and can help boost their mood - whether they’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition or not.
Read on to discover how you can support people's mental health through fitness.
What Is Mental Well-being?
The mind and body are connected. What you do with your body can have a powerful effect on your emotional and mental well-being. Mental well-being means feeling good, and being positive about yourself and the world around you - all things your clients will probably aspire to be. Being happy is part of this, but it’s also about relationships and interactions with others, contentment, confidence, self-esteem and enjoying your life.
How Exercise Can Help
There is a lot of evidence showing the link between being physically active and improved mental well-being. According to various studies, exercise and physical activity can help with depression and anxiety, stress management, and improving self-esteem. A study in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that people who engage in a regular leisure-time activity of any intensity are less likely to have symptoms of depression.
Changes In The Body
Exercising releases natural chemicals, such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins into the body, which help to boost your mood. High levels of serotonin are linked to an elevated mood, while low levels are associated with depression. Exercise can also help reduce the number of harmful chemicals in your client’s body when stressed.
The Type And Intensity Of Exercise
The good thing is that any exercise or physical activity can help to boost your mood. If your client is new to exercise, they don’t need to assume that they’ll have to spend hours in the gym to impact their mental health. Anything can help, whether it’s a sport, fitness class, or just going for a walk.
Vary their exercise, sports, and activities, and encourage them to try new things that will become a regular part of their life. Moderate-intensity exercise can often work better than high-intensity exercise.
New To Exercise
If your client is new to exercise, you need to provide them with professional support. Allow them to explain their mental health condition and design a programme that suits their fitness and daily routine level.
Exercise On Prescription
Some GP surgeries across the country prescribe exercise as a treatment for various conditions, including depression. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that if you have mild to moderate depression, taking part in three exercise sessions a week can help.
Encourage your client to talk to their GP about what type of activity will suit them best.
Help Your Clients Boost Their Mental Health Through Fitness
When it comes to mental health and well-being, exercise can make a huge difference in how you feel. By helping your clients be active, you’ll ensure they have more self-esteem and self-control as well as feeling a great sense of achievement from taking on a challenge and succeeding.
There is a definite link between the mind and body, and exercise can make a difference to both.
For more information on how you can train to work in the fitness industry and help your clients improve their mental well-being through exercise, check out our courses on our website.