“Fitness is not about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you used to be.”
Most of you know by now that exercise is good for you. What most people fail to understand is just how good it is. And the reasons are not what you might think. Sure the aesthetic benefits are important as is the impact on your health and well-being.
But incorporating regular exercise into your life can have a much deeper impact.
As a fitness coach for the last 17 years, I have seen firsthand the benefits that regular exercise can have on a person’s mind and body. Exercising can be about so much more than just looking and feeling good, it can literally alter every aspect of your life.
My Life As A Case Study
In 2013, I was a shell of a man. I had been recently separated, was in a job I loathed, felt alone and isolated, and was away from my two young daughters for the first time in my life.
I was beating myself up daily, drowning my sorrows in fast food and sad movies and felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. My children could see how unhappy I was as could everyone close to me.
But I didn’t see it. Or maybe I did but just didn’t care.
And then one day I made a decision. A decision to turn my life back around. I had enough of the self-pity and general apathy and made the choice to get strong again, emotionally and physically.
And I did.
I had been a lifelong exercise nut and during my darkest times, I let that part of me slip away.
So I started there.
The first thing I did was go for a run, albeit a very short one. And the next day I did the same. And the next. And within three weeks, I had developed a routine and stuck to it.
That small habit turned into more healthy habits like eating clean, hiking, and strength training. The changes I’ve made since then are enormous and today I am happier and healthier than I‘ve been in more than a decade.
Exercise was the catalyst for my radical change and being consistent has made all the difference in becoming a much happier, healthier, and better man and father.
I’m a huge believer in the positive effects that regular exercise can have on a person’s life and here are 10 ways I believe that regular exercise can make you a better person:
1. It improves your self-esteem.
Think about the last time you looked in the mirror with your clothes off. Were you happy? Disgusted? Apathetic? Being fit or working towards being fit can play a huge role in how you feel about yourself. Being happy with who you are as a person is far deeper than how you look.
2. It motivates and inspires you to do more and be more.
When you’ve made exercise a consistent habit, it changes the way you view the world. All of a sudden those obstacles that you once saw as insurmountable are not attainable.
3. It builds confidence.
Confidence is one of those things that can have a significant impact on many areas of your life. Walking around with your head hung low and unsure of yourself is the quickest way to mediocrity. In my experience, the best way to boost confidence is to look and feel like a million bucks. When you are fit and healthy, you become a more vibrant and alive version of you. That carries over into everything you do and who you are.
4. It inspires others to improve themselves.
You may not even think about it, but when people, especially those close to you, see you working on yourself, they can become inspired to change themselves.
5. It teaches your children the importance of hard work.
Do you want your children to think it’s OK to sit on the couch eating Dorito’s and watching reruns of Starsky and Hutch? Show them the importance of being active. Teach them the meaning of eating high quality foods and why they should be playing sports, running, and burning calories.
6. It teaches you discipline.
As Jim Rohn said “discipline is the difference between goals and accomplishment.” If there one area I see time and again that people struggle with, it’s having the discipline to control their unhealthy habits. Being able to choose a piece of fruit over a doughnut is incredibly hard for many people. But once regular exercise is part of your life, those decisions become easier because subconsciously (or consciously) you don’t want to sabotage your efforts by making unhealthy choices.
7. It can make you happier.
And after all, we ALL want to live happier lives, don’t we? Regular exercise will get those endorphins kicking into high gear and energizes you for the day. It also releases the chemical dopamine, which causes the feelings of happiness and pleasure.
8. It can improve your relationships.
Over the last 25 years, I’ve gone through many different periods of activity and inactivity. One thing I’ve found is that when I am working out on a regular basis, my relationships seem to be deeper and more meaningful. Why? It’s because we feel great about ourselves and tend to reflect how we feel about ourselves onto our partners.
9. It changes your attitude.
Attitude is everything. Everything that happens in our lives are nothing more than events. It all about how we choose to react to those events that makes the difference. That’s where attitude is so important. Viewing something as a positive can completely alter the outcome.
10. It allows you to challenge yourself to be better every day.
Personal growth is something that most people strive for every day. Getting out of your comfort zone, pushing your limits, and testing your physical capabilities are all things that can help you become a stronger person both mentally and physically.
Life is just too short not to be living your best life. Do yourself a tremendous favor and start exercising on a regular basis. I know you’ll look better, feel better, be happier, and ultimately be a better person for it.
What about you? What are the greatest benefits you have experienced through regular exercise? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Photo by Official U.S. Navy Page