No one is surprised that exercise is a major component of looking and feeling great. If you are, welcome to earth.
Exercise can help you lose belly fat, add muscle to your arms or even build better glutes, but the benefits don’t stop with the physical.
What are often overlooked are the psychological benefits exercise can have. Personally, I feel these benefits I’ve obtained from exercise supersede anything physical. Benefiting from your workout doesn’t end when you exit the gym doors. Actually, it’s just begun.
Even for the most highly active individuals, exercise will never be a 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. job. At most, it takes up one to two hours of our day, but the lessons we can learn in that short time can last a lifetime.
I like to think of exercise as a huge metaphor for life. What is more symbolic of life than being challenged by a heavy back squat? The weight is going to be heavy – nervous, excited, over-stressed – I must concentrate and pour my soul into this lift or concede to getting crushed.
By now, maybe you’re thinking that exercise isn’t such a great idea after all. But what happens when I succeed in making the lift? Pure bliss. A sense that I can do just about anything life throws my way. We’ve all felt the moment of world dominance after we’ve completed some physical task we weren’t sure was possible.
Now think of the last time you tried to make a move on a girl or boy, spoke in front of a class or had a big interview. My guess is that you felt nervous, excited and maybe overstressed. While lifting a weight and making a speech in front of your peers may seem like polar opposites, accomplishing the former sets you up for the latter.
Lifting doesn’t only build your muscles, but also your mind. Running doesn’t only improve heart’s health, but it also gives you the confidence that one more step is always possible.
Exercise teaches you to be confident in moments of doubt, ensures you that it’s possible to push just a little harder even though collapsing seems like an easier option.
This progressive attitude doesn’t need to end in the gym. You can stay up a few more hours writing that paper. You can get that job, even if it seems like a one in a million shot.
In life, just like in the gym, you may encounter mountains that seem too tall to climb, but remember, you’ve done this before.