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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!
Well, here we are—a couple of months into 2021. A year that we all (still) hope will be much better than the last. This past year was nothing short of a dumpster fire—between the pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, and the most dramatic election ever, 2020 was riddled with anxiety, grief, anger, and was just downright exhausting.
Heck—if somebody even dared to ask me how I was doing last year, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and say, “Omg I can’t even.” I mean, what other year can you think of that became its own expression? When something would go horribly awry, we would literally blame it on the year by saying, “2020, am I right?” complete with a sheepish chuckle —and eventually some tears when you realized just how many times you’ve said those words. Seriously, I lost count a long time ago. It was not healthy.
Sorry, tangent—where was I? Ah yes, 2021. The good news is there’s still hope that this year won’t make us want to roll into a tiny little ball on the floor and cry. Well, at least not as much as its predecessor—I’m not a miracle worker, you guys. However, I do have some wellness tips to help you stay just a little bit cooler, calmer, and collected-er this year.
If there’s one thing we learned last year, it’s that wellness is always here for us. Maybe at this time last year, your goal of going to Pilates five days a week came to a screeching halt as fitness studios were required to shut down to protect the community. For a time, we were all frazzled because our usual workouts and wellness routines were turned upside practically overnight. I think I speak for us all when I say that our favorite fitness class, and the community that comes with it, plays a huge role in our overall happiness. The good news is the wellness industry has come a long way in just under a year.
While it is true that some areas still aren’t allowing the in-studio experience for their workout classes due to the pandemic, we have more options to practice wellness safely than ever before. Right now, some studios are allowed to operate with in-person, socially distanced classes—and pretty much every studio broke into the virtual space to provide fitness classes you could participate in from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, at-home virtual options are typically cheaper and allow you to try our studios from all over the country. With online gym memberships like Mindbody Flex, you can have access to thousands of live stream classes at your fingertips for less than $5 per class.
Look, 2020 was scary. After a year like that, it’s can be hard to tap into a positive mindset. But it’s more important now than ever before to let go of assumptions and focus on the good that 2021 can bring. This shift to acceptance will ultimately help you put your best foot forward in any situation that arises.
Take a step back and try to focus on the things we can be grateful for in this moment. Like what? Well, for starters more and more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, which means things are slowly, but surely, getting back to normal. I, for one, am grateful that my at-risk family members have already received their first rounds of vaccinations and are on the path of staying healthy since they are protected from the coronavirus.
The best thing we can do right now for our mental health is to learn to give ourselves some grace through practicing self-care. And this can look different for everyone. Maybe your version of self-care comes in the form of daily journaling, getting a workout session in, curling up with a good book, or having that glass of wine while taking a bubble bath. Whatever makes YOU feel good—keep doing it.
To keep my mental health in check, something that I’ve started incorporating into my daily self-care routine is practicing mindfulness. Some days that means I focus on my breathwork practice—other days I may scroll through the Mindbody app to find a virtual meditation class or Yoga Nidra class. I’ve also embraced the motto there’s an app for that. Right now, I’m really loving the Headway app because it helps me set daily intentions from the moment I wake up with a morning survey and then checks in with me at the end of the day with an evening survey. Having the ability to write down my goals and hold myself accountable for them has really taken my self-care routine to the next level.
Some days we fall a little short of our goals—and guess what? THAT’S OKAY. Honestly, I think we should all just focus on being okay for the rest of the year. The past year caused us to be tough on ourselves and I encourage you to make this year kinder. Any new goals you set that involve changing habits or overhauling your lifestyle will likely have some setbacks. So, when that happens, remember to be compassionate with yourself.
If there’s anything I want you to take away from this blog post is to let go of the illusion that perfection is always the end goal. When in doubt I always remind myself of something my favorite spin instructor (hey Steph!) says: “If you look for perfection, you'll never be content. Just focus on your growth.” Allow that to sink in and make it a goal to remind yourself of this every single day.
And remember: You don’t have to—and really shouldn’t—give up hope that things will get better this year, even if you feel overwhelmed now. Having a positive mindset is never a silly thing. In fact, it is actually quite admirable; you’re an admirable badass.