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How Exercise Helps Reduce Mental Burnout

Are you curious why many organizations now include fitness-related perks or monthly wellness stipends to cover gym memberships or fitness subscriptions as part of their total compensation package?  Well, it’s no secret that mental burnout is on the rise with more than two out of every five U.S. workers saying they are burned out—and oddly enough, incorporating regular exercise into your routine is one of the best ways to help reduce burnout.


Why should we care about reducing burnout through exercise?

Gallup research reports that most employees experience burnout, with 76% percent agreeing they feel burnt out at least some of the time and 28% saying they are burnt out often or all the time. Therefore, it probably comes as no surprise that reducing burnout is now a top priority for most organizations and the people who work for them.

Exercise is by far one the most effective methods for managing burnout, and there’s plenty of science to back up why. So, let’s dive deeper into how exercise reduces burnout and exactly what physical activity can do for you if you’ve been experiencing the symptoms of burnout. 


1. Exercise Helps Regulate Stress Hormones

There is a growing interest in understanding the role of cortisol and its impact on stress management, especially for reducing mental burnout. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone that plays a significant role in your body’s stress response. When cortisol levels are excessive, then feelings of anxiety and stress are elevated and if left unchecked too long, these high levels of cortisol and stress accumulate into burnout.

Participating in regular exercise, like our kickboxing-themed workouts at 9Round, can help maintain a healthier balance of cortisol in the body, as physical activity promotes the release of other hormones, such as dopamine, which counteract the effects of cortisol. This balance prevents excessive cortisol spikes, reducing the negative impacts of chronic stress and alleviating symptoms of burnout.


2. Exercise Boosts Energy Levels

Mental burnout often manifests itself as persistent fatigue and a pervasive lack of energy, making it challenging to overcome feelings of exhaustion. However, exercise can serve as a catalyst to recalibrate your energy levels, providing a much-needed boost to help you overcome these slumps. Regular physical activity helps your body release endorphins and increases blood circulation, which in turn delivers oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and organs. This enhances your overall energy levels and combats feelings of fatigue.

Exercise also improves cardiovascular fitness, making daily tasks feel less physically demanding and reducing overall feelings of exhaustion. 9Round can help you see changes in cardiovascular fitness as you progress through your fitness journey with our PULSE heart rate system, which tracks every workout based on targeted heart rate zones.


3. Exercise Improves Sleep Quality

It’s no secret that poor sleep can have a significant impact on your stress levels. Whether you’re up to late trying to hit snooze or you’re waking up every hour on the hour, that insufficient and disrupted sleep schedule is causing chaos. This leads to elevated cortisol levels and a heightened stress response (probably some extra crankiness as well), which in turn, can prolong an endless cycle of poor sleep and more stress—a.k.a. burnout.

But fear not—exercise might be the natural sleep solution you’ve been searching for! Physical activity helps improve sleep quality by combating high cortisol levels and helping to regulate your circadian rhythm, which governs the sleep-wake cycle. Exercise also promotes the production of adenosine, a chemical compound that builds up in the body during wakefulness and gradually dissipates during sleep, aiding in falling asleep more easily and achieving deeper, more restorative sleep.


4. Exercise Enhances Self-Esteem and Confidence

Engaging in regular physical activity allows you to witness continuous improvements in strength, endurance, flexibility, and overall fitness. The achievements you reach along the way, like getting a higher score on the CHOW or increasing your weights at Round 2, help contribute to a heightened sense of accomplishment and mastery, which leads to enhanced self-esteem and confidence.

As you continue to challenge yourself at 9Round and reach new goals, you will continue to gain confidence in your abilities, both inside and outside the gym, which positively impacts how you approach and handle stressors in your everyday life. This allows you to face challenging and stressful situations with resilience and optimism.


5. Exercise Provides a Helpful Mental Shift

Have you ever dreamt of escaping from the pressures that weigh you down? While most of us imagine jetting off to Hawaii or the Maldives for a relaxing escape, a trip like that isn’t always feasible. Luckily, there’s a remarkable alternative within reach that allows you to escape from your stressors and improve mental health, even if just for a moment. Yep, you guessed it—the solution is exercise. 

Physical activity requires your full focus to remain on your movements and your body’s sensations—this is especially true at 9Round where proper kickboxing form is key. This mental shift can help you temporarily disconnect from any outside stressors and provide a well-needed mental break to help prompt relaxation. Breaking free from your stress more often through exercise, even if it’s just 30 minutes at 9Round three times a week, can help regulate your cortisol levels and prevent chronic stress from accumulating into burnout.


As you can see, exercise offers a holistic approach to managing and preventing stress to help reduce burnout. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can help you build resilience, enhance your well-being, and improve your ability to cope with the demands of daily life. If you’re looking for a fun way to blow off steam, then come try 9Round’s kickboxing-themed workouts and experience the joy of punching and kicking away your stress!

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