We all know that incorporating exercise and fitness into our lives is good for us. Being active just 30 minutes a day can do wonders for your health, decreasing your risk for heart disease and obesity, among other conditions.
But exercise has innumerable benefits that extend beyond the physical. Running, biking, swimming – whatever form of exercise you enjoy, you’ve almost certainly encountered that feeling of discomfort that occurs when you push yourself beyond your limits. Your heart beats faster, your breathing gets heavier, and you exert that last amount of effort needed to accomplish your goals and get over that last hurdle.
This is one of the ultimate powers of exercise: learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. When you work each day to overcome difficult physical fitness obstacles, the daily stressors that occur each day – a deadline at work, an issue in your relationship – seem all the more conquerable. When you become used to working through the hard stuff physically, it can help you do the same in all the different aspects of your daily life.
Because these daily stressors don’t seem as difficult to conquer, exercising regularly can make your life less stressful overall and has been shown to reduce anxiety. Many studies show that physical activity boosts short-term brain function, allowing you to react more quickly to stressful situations than you would otherwise.
This decrease in stress can help you stave off other bad habits, like smoking or unhealthy eating, while bettering good habits like effective spending and productivity. It can help you practice better self control in all aspects of your life. When you practice telling your body to say “yes” when it wants to say “no” through exercise, you’re also practicing controlling the self – a key ingredient to a healthy lifestyle.
Accomplishing your toughest exercise goals can also make you feel more confident. When hard work pays off, it feels good, and you in turn feel like an all star the whole day through. Exercise can also make you feel grateful for your body, your sense of self, and all that you have in life. Many people can’t accomplish the goal you just did due to physical, monetary, time, or other constraints, and you just powered through it effectively.
All in all, exercise isn’t just a physical remedy – it’s mental as well. When you think about it, when you’re working out, you aren’t just committing to physical fitness – you’re committing to your overall wellbeing. So hop, skip, or jump this weekend, accomplish your toughest goals, and let the best you shine through!