My whole life, I’ve been the girl who walks the mile run at school, and who gets out of breath walking up the stairs. Even as a kid, I spent a lot of field days and games of kickball watching other people enjoy running around the playground, an activity that I always found more embarrassing than exciting. This followed me into most of my adulthood, where exercising was clearly still nowhere on my radar. Until recently, I intended to keep it that way. Until recently, I thought exercising was only for a select few people, who seemed to have superhuman willpower. Then, I read a book about setting new habits, and realized that exercising isn’t a hobby or an interest — it’s an absolute necessity.
Everyone knows that exercise helps us sleep better, remember things more clearly, and improves our mood by relieving stress. But what most people, including myself, may not immediately realize is that oftentimes these effects spill over into other areas of our lives, making exercise an important part of any self-improvement goal — even the ones that may seem unrelated. After a little bit of research, I realized that not exercising wasn’t just affecting me in obvious ways like fatigue, low stamina, and the like. Not exercising also meant I was keeping all other parts of my body and life from being at their very best.
Science suggests that going to the gym is one of the best habits you can set, because it usually indirectly makes setting other habits significantly easier as well. People who exercise regularly have an easier time quitting smoking, eating better and adopting a slew of other positive habits. You want to stop spending so much time using social media to procrastinate on your homework? Go to the gym, and develop better focus and willpower. You want to finish that project in your garage? Go to the gym, so you still have some energy left after a long day at work.
In the end, I have started going to the gym. It has made me a more confident and healthy person, who thinks of her body as one of the many tools she can use in her journey of life. It has encouraged me to take on other challenges in my life that are unrelated to exercise, like cleaning and dressing more nicely, in order to improve my overall life quality. In the end, exercise makes you mentally and physically strong, and knowing that you have strength is frequently the difference between setting big goals or setting limiting expectations. We all choose one of the other. So the question is, which is it going to be for you?