There are many different habits you can implement to improve your life. What about going to the gym, what benefits can you expect?
A gym is a place where you can find a wide variety of fitness equipment and machines to work out. Going to the gym offers health benefits from working out and doing these workouts at the gym can also offer some benefits compared to working out in other places.
Do keep in mind that exercise can also cause injuries, especially if you use heavier weights at the gym. Some habits that help you avoid injuries include using the right exercise technique and not over-pushing your boundaries.
If you are in doubt about how much weight and exercise you can handle it may be smart to start small and build up from there.
If you do it safely adding gym sessions to your routine can offer you some of the following amazing benefits.
1. Stronger muscles
Some types of gym exercises will help more with this but generally going to the gym will help you build and preserve muscle more than sitting still. Extra muscle is not only beneficial for your health in many ways but it is also considered to be visually appealing.
What muscles you will work with exercise depends a lot on the specific workouts you do. Generally speaking, you can find multiple exercises for each muscle in your body.
If you are serious about building muscle you do generally want to choose strength training exercises over more cardio and balance focused exercises. Strength training involves lifting weights or using your own bodyweight to preserve or build muscle.
2. Stronger immune system
Your immune system is a collection of biological processes that protects you from diseases.
You do have to keep in mind that at some point working out can turn into overtraining which can weaken immune function.
3. You are more committed to exercising
Exercising is not only about having a good workout plan. You also actually have to follow this plan to get the benefits. This can be a challenge for many people.
Interestingly enough thinking about your future self can activate neural activation patterns similar to thinking about another person (6). This may be one of the reasons why it is easy to make plans for your “future self” but actually following these plans with your “current self” can be hard.
When you start going to the gym you will likely get a gym subscription that charges you whether you go or not. You can start this gym subscription when thinking about your “future self”.
You likely want to get value out of something you invest in. This financial commitment may give your “current self” that extra push needed to stick to your workout plan.
4. Can help with achieving a healthy weight
Being overweight can lead to a lot of negative side effects you want to avoid. One way to get to and sustain a healthy weight is by implementing more exercise by going to the gym.
Losing weight is about using up body fat, which is basically energy stored. To do this you want to make sure that you require more energy throughout the day than there is coming in from food.
One way to try to make this happen is by exercising. By increasing the intensity of your movements for a period of time you use up more energy than usual. Basically all exercises you can do in the gym require more energy than most of your usual daily activities.
Another way exercises in the gym, mainly strength training workouts, help you lose weight is by increasing your muscle mass which in turn helps with burning more energy with everything you do.
Keep in mind that other lifestyle habits like what you eat are important when trying to lose weight no matter what exercise you do. You can work out and gain weight at the same time if your other lifestyle habits are not good.
5. Improved mood
Most people are not always completely aware of it but the physical health of the human body has a big influence on the mood and thoughts of the individual.
Exercise doesn’t just help with this by improving general health. There are inevitably many different reasons involved but one reason why exercise benefits mental health is that it promotes the release of endorphins, “feel-good” hormones (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).
Besides the actual physiological changes exercising at the gym will cause, you will likely also have positive feelings about having done something challenging that’s good for you.
6. Improved cardiovascular health
Your cardiovascular system is the circulatory system inside of your body and includes heart and blood vessels. These transport many types of important nutrients, oxygen, and waste throughout your body.
When you move more intensely your body needs to transport these things, which means using your heart, at a higher rate.
Your heart is a muscle that can be trained by using it more intensely. Even strength training and balance exercises will make your heart beat faster and thus helps you strengthen your cardiovascular system. This in turn leads to a wide variety of other benefits (13, 14, 15, 16, 17).
Do keep in mind that muscles can get injured. If you have not done any physical activity in a long time you may want to start out with low-intensity exercises at the gym and build up from there.
7. Not dependent on the weather
In most places around the world, the weather outside will not always be great for workouts like running, cycling, and walking. Some types of weather are just uncomfortable to work out in. Others may increase your risk of getting sick which can result in being able to do fewer workouts.
By doing to the gym for your workouts you can avoid passing on workouts due to the weather or getting sick because of a workout in the rain.
8. Group feeling may help you push further
Humans are social animals, even if you are aware of the influence of the people around you, you will get guided to doing similar things. This can be both negative and positive depending on what behaviors are enforced.
In the case of going to the gym, the group feeling from the people around you may push you to get in a better workout. When going for a run alone it may be easier to do a softer version of the plan you thought about in advance.
This group feeling is likely especially strong during workout classes like spin classes or dance classes. But even just the feeling of people around you lifting heavy weights may improve your own weight lifting session.
On top of that by going to the gym you have the opportunity to meet like-minded people who value some of the same things as you.
Do keep in mind that pushing yourself further is not always what you want. There are physical limits you preferably don’t want to cross.
9. Improved cognitive function
Another benefit of doing to the gym to exercise is that it can help you improve your cognitive function in a few ways. First of all, it can help with the prevention of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (18).
Another way working out benefits cognitive function is by improving brain plasticity (19, 20, 21). Better brain plasticity basically means that you are able to learn things faster, see the connection between things faster, and remember things better.
That means that adding gym sessions to your routine can benefit you by improving areas like your academic performance, job performance, and much more.
10. Going to the gym doesn’t need to take a lot of time
When you hear the word gym, thoughts of people running for hours on end on a treadmill may appear. It doesn’t have to be like this, a good workout sessions at the gym can be done in a relatively short amount of time.
For example to build muscle you basically want to put enough strain on your muscles so muscle growth processes start. This doesn’t necessarily take a lot of time out of your day.
A more intense cardio workout can train your cardiovascular system in a shorter amount of time than one at a lower intensity.
Especially if you choose workouts like high-intensity exercise and strength training you can get in a very good workout in for example 20 minutes.
Even a short amount of time of less intense workouts like walking on a treadmill can already be a big improvement over doing nothing.
11. Improved bone density
This is helpful for avoiding broken bones. Depending on your age you may not be that worried about something like this right now. However, exercising right now can help you avoid broken bones in 40 years. The things you do today have an impact on the future.
The way many parts of your body work is that by challenging them you set in motion processes that strengthen these body parts. The same goes for your bones, by putting pressure on them you make them stronger in the long-term.
Generally, workouts with a lot of jumping, which includes running, and strength training exercises are the best for improving bone density. Next you have exercises that put less pressure on your bones like walking. Lastly you have exercise in the water like swimming which will still benefit bone density but likely not as much as the other categories.
12. Lowers LDL
LDL, also known as low-density lipoproteins, is considered to be “bad” cholesterol since there are negative side effects associated with having high levels of LDL in your blood.
13. You can experience more variety
Another reason why people fail to stick to a workout plan is that they miss variety. For example, running 5 miles a day is something many people consider to be boring.
Even smaller gyms usually have a wide variety of machines and equipment to choose from. You can run one day, do bench presses the next day, and use the rowing machine on another.
Even if you don’t care much about the variety benefit you can also just repeat the same workout.
14. Healthier lungs
To move around your body needs oxygen, the more intensely the more oxygen. Your body absorbs oxygen from the air through your lungs.
By using your lungs more, thanks to workouts at the gym, you can improve how well they work (32, 33, 34, 35, 36). Some exercises will be not as effective for engaging your lungs. However, generally all workouts will increase the amount of oxygen your body uses compared to sitting on a chair doing nothing.
Improving how well your lungs function leads to benefits like improved exercise performance and getting tired slower.
15. Helps against type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that involves consequences like high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and lack of insulin. These things in turn can have really bad consequences so type 2 diabetes is definitely something you want to avoid.
16. Slows down aging
Most people think of age as the number of days, months, and years that have passed since the day they were born, this is usually referred to as their chronological age. There are also many other ways to measure “age” based on physiological factors (42).
going to the gym obviously won’t have an influence on the number of days that have passed since you were born. However, physical activity can slow down the aging in terms of how fast other measurement methods progress (43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48).
In general these other age measurements are more accurate methods than chronological age for assessing risk on age-related diseases. Slowing these down can be a huge benefit for your health.
17. You can try out new equipment inexpensively
Even if you want to get your own workout equipment at home, choosing between all the options may feel like a potentially expensive guess.
You can always go to the gym for a month if you want to try out different fitness machines and equipment. Then once you know what tools you like you can get them for yourself at home. Or you may just decide that you like the variety you can have at the gym.
18. Improves sleep
Good quality and duration sleep are extremely important for your physical health and cognitive function. Unfortunately, many people can do a lot better with both quality and duration.
You do want to keep in mind that exercising too close to bedtime can have the reverse effect and mess with your sleep. Make sure you give your body time enough time to calm down after a workout. For most people this comes down to avoiding exercises at least an hour or two before going to sleep.
19. Regulates blood pressure
Your blood pressure is how much pressure the blood circulating in your blood vessels pushes against the walls of these vessels. This measurement is a popular way to determine how healthy your heart is.
Another benefit of going to the gym and working out is that it can help you regulate blood pressure (52, 53, 54). This happens because of the influence of a variety of consequences you get from exercise including a stronger heart, less stress, expected weight loss, and more.
20. Improves coordination and balance
Although with some gym workouts more than others, you will likely challenge your balance and coordination skills. By doing this frequently you get better at it like with most skills. Many people forget to implement balance training into their workout routine but it is a helpful fitness component.
The benefits of improved coordination don’t just show up in other technical sports. Daily activities as simple as walking the stairs require coordination.
While inevitably some of the gym workouts are better for some of these benefits than others, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding a healthy habit like going to the gym to your routine.
One thing you need to remember is that exercise can also cause injuries, especially with extra weights you can find at the gym. Make sure you use the right technique and don’t overpush your boundaries. If you have not exercised in a while it may be smart to start out with light workouts and build up from there.
Also keep in mind that consistency is a big factor for a workout plan. The more you love the exercise you do the easier it becomes to do it consistently. If you like going to the gym, great. If not there are plenty of other ways to exercises to consider that can also offer a lot of benefits.