The (other) benefits of exercise
Nobody wants to read (or hear) another article about the positives of exercising.
We have all heard the same facts. Exercise is good for your health. People live longer. Prevents disease. And generally you become a better version of yourself.
But the truth of the matter is, we want results now. Sometimes the satisfaction of a good donut and box full of goodies from KFC is not going to meet the satisfaction of exercise. So what are the benefits of doing exercise now?
Exercise can be a time to look after yourself through your thoughts. When you are stressed from a long day of work, nothing beats a good boxing session. Or running it out on the treadmill.
It may feel tough in the moment but it helps transfer the negative energy. Negative thoughts can run around in your head like a bad song on repeat and being present through exercise can release the anxiety.
While mediation can be good for some people, it seems to have an opposite effect on me in certain situations. Negative thoughts can seem to get louder as if the only thing you try to avoid comes blazing harder into your mind. The clutter of thoughts tend to disappear when the focus is outside of me.
And it is also a great way to transition from work life to home life. I would like to think i leave work matters at work but sometimes the thoughts still linger when i get home. A good workout session allows me to let off some steam so the ‘work’ energy is released and the home version of me is relaxed and content.
Exercise is also a great gratitude session. Exercise doesn’t have to be painful and excessive. A 30 minute walk a day can do wonders. Research suggests that walking (and eating right) is more likely to encourage a healthy lifestyle than losing all the weight all at once. Most people do not exercise so walking is a great start and appreciating your local neighbourhood or a walk in park to get back to nature.
The first step and the most important key is to stick to the habit of exercising. There can be too much focus on how much you lose compared to how often we are participating in exercise. The journey is a marathon not a sprint.
If you have a different set of goals to achieve in life, exercise is a good step towards strengthening your sense of will power and persistence. Exercise can teach you self discipline to push yourself harder everyday. Whether you are finishing a degree, starting a business or leading a team, exercise is important to make sure you are focused, alert and resilient against negative resistance.
The importance of self care is not just about being physically healthy. Exercise encourages energy, clarity and focus through controlled breathing and increased serotonin levels. The ritual of looking after your thoughts and attitude is just as important as looking after your physical health.
And the ironic result is that these new thoughts and attitudes will ripple into new behaviours about how you think about exercise.
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