The Gym is for your Mental Health not for your Muscles

We’ve all seen those photos on Instagram of men taking selfies in the gym, flexing their biceps in the mirror, claiming they’ve been there for the last two hours, for the fourth time this week! But what does it do for men who maybe overweight, that have low self-esteem of themselves, that want to make that first step into the gym?

Without a shadow of a doubt for some men, the gym can feel like an intimidating place when they’re first starting out. Many feel that it will be full of those muscle men but in reality, there are men of all shapes and sizes, with no egos to boast about.

Perhaps when you are a new beginner, you don’t want to look stupid in front of other people, afraid of showing people that you don’t know what you’re doing and even feel self-conscious about your fitness. But we must remember, every single person has been in that position before. Everyone entered the gym for the first time, everyone was unfit when they started and certainly everyone didn’t know what to do or how to use the equipment at some point. No one will be judgemental; in fact you’ll probably receive praise from others for wanting to improve your fitness, your body and more importantly your mental health.

Like everything in life, the key is to ask for help. When you don’t know the answer, you ask someone for support. To educate yourself, you must ask the questions, to a person, the internet, even your Alexa! In this case, don’t be too embarrassed to ask another gym goer or a staff member for help.

Exercise is extremely important for improving mental health. It reduces anxiety and depression and improves self-esteem. By being more physically fit, it gives more energy and positivity for other aspects of our lives. But it also plays a role in preventing the development of mental health problems.

We, as humans, are constantly comparing ourselves to others, analysing how we’re similar, better, or worse. Not just in the gym, but on social media and other aspects of life. This needs to stop. 

Many men say that going to the gym isn’t only about lifting or exercising. It’s almost a social place where nobody is judging you. It’s a coping mechanism and somewhere where people can go to feel safe. They realise that it’s way more important in the way that you feel, than what your body looks like.

When we engage in moderate levels of exercise, we know we can boost endorphin levels and they can have many positive effects in terms of your health and well-being. By attending the gym, the need to focus on an activity and training can get you to where you want to be both mentally and physically and to be your ‘best self’.