During lockdown, many people joined the fitness community as at-home workouts took the Internet by storm. With their newfound abundance of free time, people took the initiative and began improving themselves.
The New York Times reported that “during the first few weeks after pandemic-related lockdowns began in the United States and other nations, Google searches related to the word ‘exercise’ spiked and remained elevated for months.”
Chloe Ting became a household name as her two-week ab program gained popularity. Now, you don’t need to be preached to about the numerous physical health benefits that come rolled up in different types of exercise; we all get that message loud and clear in health class and PE. However, you’re likely not as familiar with the incredible effects regular exercise can have on your mental health, and ultimately, how you feel about yourself.
It’s widely known that endorphins are released in the brain during moderate intensity/vigorous exercise. “Runner’s high” is a common term used to describe this influx of beneficial chemicals in your system. Endorphins work to help relieve stress and pain.
In addition to the release of endorphins, nothing gets you feeling confident like achieving your fitness goals. Those accomplishments are deeply satisfying. They’re personal, and you’ll find it doesn’t matter if other people recognize every improvement you make to yourself. You know what you’ve done, and you know how hard you’ve worked. The discipline, perseverance, and dedication that you build will all help you in a multitude of ways outside of the gym.
The frequency and intensity at which you choose to workout are determined by the goals that you set for yourself. Now, the beauty of the term “working out” is that it covers many different activities. Maybe you want to go for runs a few times a week. Maybe you’re conditioning for a sport, or trying to lose (or gain!) weight. Maybe you want to be toned, maybe you’re after that swole “Greek god” aesthetic. There’s something for everyone, and these workouts all have the power to leave you feeling better than when you started.
However, as you venture into the fitness community, it becomes all too easy to compare yourself to others. That’s why it’s critical to remember that, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “comparison is the thief of joy.” It may seem cliché, but your only competition is yourself. Once you realize that, you unlock an untouchable confidence within yourself. The ability to step back and appreciate your body for all that it does for you is incomparable. The body of a powerlifter is capable of much different things than that of a ballerina, so why should anyone who aspires to achieve things in one field compare themselves to the beauty standards of another? It just doesn’t make sense, right? This is a prime example of how working out can improve your self image and mindset.
All in all, you can’t go wrong if you choose to make exercise a part of your daily routine. It benefits your health in every way. Whether it’s going for a run, swimming, or going to a gym to pump some iron, you’ll find yourself feeling more confident in your body as you make it look how you want it to. That’s another great thing about working out: you can look however you want to if you put in the time and work, and you earn the satisfaction of knowing that you buckled down and bettered yourself. If you’re too nervous or self-conscious to go to a gym or exercise around people, know that no one’s focusing on you. We all start somewhere, and the only way to become proficient at anything is to begin.