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More than 52%¹ of men in the UK believe it’s important to look physically attractive.
But, new research¹ conducted by MINDBODY reveals that looking good may not be the only reason many men return to the gym again and again.
- On an average day, 35% of men would rate their overall happiness/mental wellbeing at 3/5, 5 being most content.
- Thirty-one percent of men are somewhat anxious or stressed daily.
Before this year’s Men’s Health Week, MINDBODY researchers set out to determine the reasons why men in the UK initially signed up to the gym and whether their reasons changed after attending.
1. Increase their overall fitness levels (64%).
2. Build muscle (35%).
3. Make healthier choices throughout the day/week e.g., food/drink (28%).
4. Help their mental health (25%).
5. Increase their confidence (25%).
Sixty-four percent of men said their motives for continuing to go to a gym didn’t change, while 29% had changed somewhat, and 7% said their reasons had changed completely.
1. Increase their fitness levels (29%).
2. Make healthier choices throughout the day/week (26%).
3. Keep on top of their mental health (17%).
With men whose reasons had changed for going to the gym still showing an interest in keeping their mental health on track, MINDBODY researchers did a deeper dive into men’s attitudes toward their emotional wellbeing.²
They found that, on an average day, 13% would rate their overall happiness or mental wellbeing at 5/5 (5 being content) compared to 35% who would rate it at 3/5. As a result, 31% are somewhat anxious or stressed daily.
"As people progress in exercise, they begin to develop stronger, faster, and more coordinated muscles which help build their confidence as they grow,” said Nick Davies, Sports Performance Mind Coach at NDSP. “What's more, exercise, like any endeavor, has its fair share of ups and downs and we learn, or reinforce, that losing is not the end, but something you strive to overcome, and this is where you develop mental strength.
Whatever activity you choose to participate in, make sure you enjoy it. The enjoyment side of exercise contributes to the endorphins that the brain releases, which has an extremely positive impact on your mental and physical wellbeing."
Physical movement became medicine for Leon Taylor, Olympic Silver Medalist, after the family doctor labelled him a ‘problem’ child’ due to his hyperactivity, he said.
“My parents would attempt to tire me out, so I did all the physical activity I could for my age. Then something magical happened; I became easier to manage. It’s widely known the negative effects of inactivity on someone’s physical health and the associated risk of disease, but what is concerning to me is the link between inactivity and someone’s mental health,” says Taylor.
“As MINDBODY’s research indicates, feeling anxious and overwhelmed is so commonplace today. I’d argue that we spend too much time stuck in our heads and not enough in our bodies, as overthinking can lead to psychological stress. When we start to move, our brain releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) to protect us from stress; at the same time, endorphins are released. BDNF acts as a reset switch, which is why we often feel so at ease after moving. Long-term, consistent physical movement changes the structure of our brain, boosts self-esteem, and decreases biological action to psychological stress, which is an enemy to mental health. Physical movement is our best weapon to respond.”
Charlotte Newton, Senior Manager EMEA Marketing at MINDBODY, comments on the research findings:
“It’s no secret that there is a stigma around men being hesitant to speak about their mental health. However, whilst our research reveals that a third of men would only rate their overall happiness/mental wellbeing at 3/5, it’s great to see that men realise the fantastic benefits exercise can have on their wellbeing, both physically and mentally!”
Looking to boost your body and mind? Download the MINDBODY app or explore new fitness on MINDBODY.io!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.