Besides the Killer Bod…Benefits of Working Out
We diet to look good. We exercise to look sexy. We lift weights to look sculpted. But, although you may have started hitting the gym for your looks, there’s much more to it.
Your bikini. Your little black dress. Your favorite pair of yoga pants that hugs all the right places. These are the reasons that you originally started entertaining the idea of hitting the gym. You never considered yourself an athlete, but you knew that something had to give. College left you bloated and ready for a physical transformation. There’s nothing wrong with that, but understand that your body isn’t the only thing that is getting benefits from your time sweating it up on the Stairmaster. In fact, one could argue that it isn’t even at the top of the list for the most important reasons to exercise. You may have already experienced some the following byproducts of moving your body. You may:
Feel better about yourself
Be less stressed
Have gotten better at your job.
Have a better relationship (with yourself and your man).
If you think about it, looking good in a bikini doesn’t really matter if you don’t feel like you look good in it. There is more to this wonderful world of exercise than just your looks. Let’s take a look at 5 things that will improve as you work on your physique.
Your Inner Confidence
You may have heard the quote, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” The person who said that clearly has never had cheesecake. To paraphrase the above and adjust the wording to reflect something a little more truthful, let’s try this on for size:
“Nothing feels as good as knowing that the work that you put in, to become the strong, fit woman that you are, has paid off.”
With every mile you log on the treadmill, you will bolster your confidence just a touch. With every rep you do in the squat rack, you’ll realize that you are made of more than you thought you were. With every pound that you lose, you’ll be reminded of how every step of this journey to a healthy lifestyle has been worth it.
You’ll be reminded over and over again of how strong you are; and not necessarily because you can lift hundreds of pounds over your head, but because your emotional and mental strength will get a boost as well. Eventually, you’ll feel better than you look in your bikini. How crazy would that be?
Consistent exercise can affect both your sleep quality and the amount of sleep you get. Wouldn’t it be nice to not prop yourself up on lattes and iced coffees?
Working out improves your quality of sleep by being the catalyst for periods of sleep that are more sound and restful. You’ll experience more periods of restorative sleep if you’re exercising regularly. It will also allow you to get more sleep because of the nature of what you’re doing when you exercise. You expend energy when you’re at the gym, so by the time you lay your head down to rest at the end of the night, your body will be ready to close up shop for the day. This combination of deeper and lengthier sleep is a quiet victory of working out that not many people talk about.
Your Stress Levels
Hitting the gym regularly can slow down the release of your stress hormones while also combatting the stress that you’re currently holding in your body. When you get your heart rate up and move your body; you are slower to release the hormones in your body that might induce stress, making it harder for you to feel the tension that you normally do about work, your love life, or your finances.
Exercising also releases endorphins into your body, a.k.a. “The Feel Good Hormone”. This release makes it easier for your body to slip into a good mood, chemically speaking. So if you carried some stress with you into the gym, the endorphins will show it the door.
There’s a popular quote that has passed through many pairs of lips and graced a few pages in your favorite self-help books:
“How you do one thing is how you do everything.”
By putting in the extra work at the gym and consciously working on yourself, you will notice that you’re bringing that attitude to other areas of your life. And where in life can you measure your performance as you do at the gym? Most likely, your place of employment. It’s not a direct correlation between your fitness and your job performance, but trust that the mindset you’re using to lift a heavy weight or run an extra mile will serve you between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.
This one is a big one. With improved self-confidence, you will see an increase in self-worth. When you have raised your level of self-worth, you will see that the work that you have done on yourself will indirectly improve how you interact with the most important people in your life. You will honor their time more because you’ve done the same for yourself. You will be patient with them because you have learned to be patient in your process of transformation, and you will be better to them because you have learned to be better to yourself.
Relationships and connection are like a mirror. How you see yourself can be reflected in how others treat you. You show the world how to treat you by how you honor and love yourself. When you’re killing it in the gym, you’ll likely show yourself a lot of love for your hard work.
It’s not all about having abs or buns of steel. The time that you put in, in the weight room or on the track, will ripple out into some of the important areas of your life. You may have started this journey because you wanted to look good, but stay on this journey so you can keep reaping the benefits listed above.
You are worth every one of them!