There’s a pretty persistent but unflattering stereotype that fit people — especially muscular ones — are vain, empty headed, and emotionally stunted. It seems odd, though, that having a healthy, functional body would make you less capable mentally — or that it’d make you into, essentially, a bad person.
Well, chalk that one up to a bitter rumour started by the unfit, because there are in fact a variety of ways that following a fitness program benefits your soul as well as your body.
Here’s a look at a few of those.
Confidence naturally improves as you get closer to your perfect body
“Perfect” is an unattainable ideal. There’s no “buy here” button you can click to attain perfection in any area of your life. The goal is never to actually end up at a place where you’re “perfect”, but to strive towards that unreachable goal so that you improve yourself and feel better for it.
While you should never base your confidence on your looks, it’d be silly to argue that there’s no link between how happy you are with the shape you’re in, and how confident you feel.
Getting fit boosts confidence — it’s really as simple as that. And with increased confidence, you’re not only more likely to pursue your dreams in life, but also to be more self-assured and generous to those around you.
The fitter your body becomes the better you feel
People sometimes seem to lose track of the fact that fitness isn’t just about looks. A stronger heart and lungs, stronger tendons and muscles, more flexible joints — all of these things contribute to better overall health.
And like the old saying goes, “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. Being physically healthy just feels good. Any aches or pains you’ve been struggling with will be diminished. Your hormone balance will be in a healthier range, and you’ll feel happier in general.
A lot of people today are deeply depressed, and turn to medication as a solution. Getting fit is one effective way of feeling happier and better about life in general.
Your fitness journey can be the torch that inspires others
There are two options that a person can choose to take when they encounter someone who’s achieved something impressive. The first option is that they can feel jealous, bitter, and insecure, and lash out meanly. The second option is that they can be inspired by it, and use it as motivation and comfort for their own achievements in life.
Fitness transformations are some of the most powerful that happen in day-to-day life. For those on their own journeys, who aren’t racked by bitterness, seeing someone else get fit can be a great source of inspiration and motivation.
The more positive people you surround yourself with, the more positive you feel. Your fitness journey — while first and foremost for you yourself — can also bring joy and enthusiasm to the people around you.
Getting fit is a great reminder about the importance of perseverance
Sometimes in life it pays to be reminded of the simple lessons we learned in childhood. Everyone was taught at some point that the key to success was steady, consistent work, and the ability to keep going and never give up. At some point, though, many of us forget these lessons — or at least, we forget to follow their advice.
Fitness is one of the best reminders of the importance of perseverance. It’s simply impossible to get fit, and stay that way, if you just dedicate haphazard bursts of energy to training every once in awhile, and then give up for months at a time.
Results come from slow, steady work. Training like clockwork, and taking pride in consistency. These are lessons that carry over to almost every other aspect of life, from leisure pursuits to business goals.
The fitter you are, the more things you can do
Fitness is originally an evolutionary term. Being “fit”, when it comes down to it, means “being well adapted for your environment”. Although most of us today are perfectly well-adapted for our day-to-day routines, which typically include working in air conditioned offices and watching TV at home, we’re often not very well adapted for the more physical challenges that life can throw up.
Getting fit means you can do more, better, with your body. In extreme cases this could save your, or a loved one’s, life. For example if you had to carry someone on your back out of a burning building, or swim to rescue them from drowning.
At the very least, however, it’ll mean you can run for your train without feeling like you’re dying, or carry your groceries to the car without having to stop and rest on the way.