*Guest post*

While many of us hit the gym in order to reap the rewards of improved physical fitness, it is also important to note that exercise can have a profoundly positive effect on your mental health.

A number of celebrities credit working out for improving their sense of wellbeing, including singer Demi Lovato, who credits exercise as being the key to helping her deal with anxiety.

Check out these ways in which training can play a part in helping to create a happier, healthier you.

Tackling S.A.D

As the winter months close in, many people can experience feeling low and sluggish. In some cases, the lack of sunlight and cold weather can even lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). Although the last thing you may want to do is hit the gym, studies show that gentle exercise can increase the production of endorphins, helping to lift a low mood.

For those dreading dragging themselves to the gym, consider investing in a home exercise machine which allows you to get in a full-body workout at home – one less excuse to not get the feel-good chemicals flowing!

Staying sharp

Exercise can boost not only your mood, but also your intellectual performance. By increasing oxygen flow to your brain, you should feel more alert and focused as a result.

Research has also found that those who engage in moderate-to-high intensity exercise are also more likely to have healthy patterns of glucose metabolism in the brain, a sign of healthy brain function.

Improved sleep

It’s a no-brainer that putting in a hard workout is likely to mean you’ll hit the pillow that little bit easier. Vigorous cardio such as using the Versaclimber can help to get your heart pumping, while mindful yoga stretching can help quiet a busy mind. With lack of sleep linked to weight gain, poor concentration and low productivity, upping your exercise regime may have more benefits than you first thought.

I love the yoga and meditation videos from YouTube guru Yoga with Adriene, providing a perfect wind-down after an intense workout or before bed.

Swerving stress

Our daily lives are undoubtedly taxing and competing worries and demands can eventually lead to a feeling of burn-out. Fitness is an excellent antidote to stress. Concentrating on nailing your lifting form or a HIIT workout can give your mind a break from a stressful day. Stress also causes physical tension in the body and exercise can help you to relax – improving your overall feeling of wellbeing as a result.

An excellent post-workout routine involves a soak in a warm bath filled with Epsom salt, ideal for tired muscles, and for soothing your mind before bed.

Improved Confidence

There are many ways in which working out may help to improve your confidence. As well as maintaining a healthy body, the accomplishment that comes from sticking to a workout plan and reaching your fitness goals will also have a positive effect on your self-esteem.

Fitness is also linked to increased energy, meaning you’ll feel more active and enjoy life with an overall sense of health and resilience in your body and mind.

It is always recommended you speak to your doctor and a qualified trainer or coach before embarking on a new fitness regime or training programme.

Do you have a favourite exercise that never fails to make you feel fantastic, or any tips for staying motivated to exercise? Why not hop onto Versaclimber’s Facebook and Twitter pages to see if you can pick up any keep fit tips.