Fall kicks off the main season for many sports, and for most athletes, they’ve been training during the off-season, getting ready to kick it in gear for competition. While you should choose the best gym athletic wear to support your training, you can’t ignore that good mental health impacts your training as well.
Although most athletes consider their training schedule and nutrition as essential components to their success, high-performing athletes understand that the impact of their mental game is just as vital to achieving their goals. Even if you’re not a competitive athlete, your mental game impacts your workout and your ability to reach your goals, but on the flip side, your fitness also impacts your mental health.
If you want to harness the power of your mentality on your fitness or strengthen your mental game for competition, this post explains how your fitness impacts your mental health as well as way to toughen up your mental game to push through and reach your goals.
How Working Out Affects Your Mentality
Fitness offers several mental health benefits, affecting your overall health and well-being. While your body needs days off and rest to recharge, your body needs physical activity to boost and maintain your mental health. If you’re looking for ways to improve your mental game, mood, or level of fitness, working out offers benefits that translate from the gym to everyday life.
To understand how your mental health impacts your fitness and vice versa, consider how your gym wear clothing affects your workout. When you wear breathable clothing that offers a full range of motion for your workout, you can work out longer and harder. Your clothing allows your body to naturally keep you cool by not trapping heat, and you have the ability to use a full range of motion to get an edge on your workout. On the other hand, clothing with less quality and craftsmanship doesn’t allow you to move as you should or regulate your temperature.
When you work out, your brain has natural mechanisms as well, releasing chemicals into your body that offer impressive benefits, including:
- Better mood: Endorphins—those feel-good chemicals in your brain—increase your mood because of working out, and they help balance and regulate your mood throughout the day.
- Increased recall and cognitive function: If you want to learn new movements, new plays, or just have better recall and brain function at work, working out can help. When you train, you increase your levels of BNDF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which act like fertilizer for your brain, helping to repair brain cells, protect healthy ones, and gain new neural connections. BNDF assists the development of new neural pathways so that you can learn new things and gain new skills.
- Better sleep: Regular workouts help you not just sleep but also rest so that your body and mind can do the internal repairs and make the recharge necessary to make you stronger and sharper. You can regulate your sleep better and increase the quality of your sleep with consistent training. Getting restful sleep helps you deal with the mental challenges you face daily at work, in the gym, and when competing.
Working out offers benefits for your mental health, and when you’re getting plenty of restful sleep, regulating your mood, and boosting your brain health, you are better equipped to strengthen your mental game, which is necessary for athletic success.
How to Up Your Mental Game
Whether you lift to have a better golf game, work out to stay competitive in your sport, or recognize how important fitness is to your health, you can have the best gym athletic wear while training, but if you ignore the mental component you’re not reaching your full potential.
Your mental game refers to how you handle stressful situations, overcome adversity, and push yourself, and you can employ your mental game in the gym, on the field, or even at work. You may think athletes are born with mental toughness, but athletes spend as much time strengthening their mental game as they do on other aspects of training, such as their nutrition.
You can harness the power of your mind, too. Working out not only acts as a catalyst for your brain to make positive improvements, but you also train yourself to deal with stress. When you work out, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. This hormone impacts your fear, mood, and motivation, and healthy levels regulate bodily functions in response to stress, but unhealthy levels keep the stress alarm system on high alert, derailing your focus and health.
When you work out, you actually elevate the levels of this hormone, giving yourself an opportunity to feel the physical effects of stress in a safe place. While training, you practice working through the stress, using new neural pathways to recall coping strategies to deal with the stress and overcome it. You learn not only to recognize stress but also to learn several ways to successfully deal with it.
Stress can be found in every facet of your life, from work to the gym even at home. So taking time to improve your mental game can give you the toughness of an athlete that you can use to push yourself whenever you need it. To push yourself even further, follow these tips to increase the effectiveness of your mental game:
- Focus on what you can control. Narrow your focus and allow yourself to work on only what you can control. Let the other factors go—as hard as that may be—so you can truly focus on the things you can change.
- Make small improvements and treat them big. Especially when you’re fine-tuning something at work, running a technique drill, or perfecting a specific play, tiny improvements make a huge impact. Don’t dilute that impact by diminishing the importance of each improvement, no matter how small you think it is.
- Visual your success. Think of visualizing as formal daydreaming. Some like using music, and some like total quiet. Whatever your preference, think through what your success looks like. The more you think through and visualize that success, the more you internalize it, making it feel natural when you work through it.
Your mental health not only impacts your training but also your overall health and well-being. Whether you need to meet some personal goals or training goals in the gym, strengthening your mental game can improve your personal success.