Reason #9,148 why exercise is not selfish: it can help keep you sane.
Even though we mostly view exercise as a tool to improve our PHYSICAL health, it can vastly improve our mental health as well.
There is still research being conducted as to if specific exercise or duration matters, if it should be used in addition to other treatments, etc. but more and more the results are coming in that exercise positively effects your mental health--especially in areas such as anxiety and depression.
One study was done with those who suffer from anxiety. When faced with stressful situations, the body produces fight-or-flight sensations that could send a person into a panic attack. However, since these sensations are similar to those you'd experience while working out--intense perspiration, increased heart rate, etc., would it have the same effect on a person who regularly experiences these sensations through working out?
Jasper Smits, PhD took a group of 60 volunteers who had battled anxiety previously to test this theory and those who participated in a two-week exercise program had a much less panicked reaction and greater improvements in anxiety sensitivity than that of the control group.
Smits states, "Exercise in many ways is like exposure treatment. People learn to associate the symptoms with safety instead of danger."
This is just one among many, many studies that point to exercise having the ability to make a colossal impact on your mental health.
Plus, exercise is free, available to everyone, and you don't even need a prescription!
Why wouldn't you see if it worked for you? What is the downside to giving it a try?
When the only downside is that you might accidentally also get in better physical shape, you really don't have much to lose.
I've worked with many clients who have cited these similar positive results through following an exercise program coupled with wholesome nutrition.
I've had clients see their symptoms of anxiety almost completely disappear or become much less frequent.
I've had clients who felt "in a funk" and self-proclaimedly "apathetic" towards their lives become much more energetic, happy people.
This is one among HUNDREDS of reasons why it is not selfish to work out. It's actually just negligent to ignore something that could improve your overall health because you want to hold on to the false belief that taking that time for yourself is wrong.
Your family, your friends, your workplace, your church, your community, etc.--they all need the best version of you. The mentally strong version of you.
Take your 20 minutes a day to become a more mentally and physically strong person who is a greater blessing to those around you for the other 1, 420 minutes of the day.