Exercise is not only good for the body, but it’s good for the mind and soul as well. I’ve learned many important lessons about persevering through challenges and maintaining a growth mindset through my fitness practice – keep reading to learn the four most important life lessons I’ve learned from fitness.
As I’ve progressed in my fitness journey over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed the expected benefits of more regular exercise like losing some weight and getting more muscle tone, but the best (and most unexpected) benefits I’ve gotten from working out regularly have actually been the lessons I’ve learned about life.
“But how does working out teach you about life?!” you may be asking. I had no idea fitness could truly strengthen my mind when I first started making exercise a priority. But in addition to feeling much less stressed when I regularly get to move my body, having a regular fitness practice has actually taught me a lot of about life.
Some of the best insights into my life and mind are those that come during a particularly grueling Yoga Sculpt class. I don’t know if it’s the breathing, the wise words from the yoga instructors, or just the endorphins…but I now find exercise to be really therapeutic! I get some of my greatest insights into life during my workouts, and I think the main reason is actually because those are the moments when I’m most in touch with my body and its wisdom. Below are a few lessons I’ve carried with me from my many hours of sweating it out this past year to the rest of my life.
Results only come from showing up consistently. Even when (and especially when) we’re tired or don’t feel doing it.
What I love about working out is that if you show up and put in the work, you will get tangible results. It may take longer than you’d like, but the results will come with consistent effort over time, and that’s a beautiful thing. Sometimes in life it doesn’t feel like just working hard consistently will bring us the results we want, but exercise is a great reminder that if we give up or start slacking, we’ll eventually lose what we worked so hard for. And of course there are days where we’re tired and would rather be on the couch with wine and Netflix, but all that matters is that we keep. showing. up. Even when it’s difficult. Because that’s when it matters the most.
Growth only comes through discomfort.
Your body can’t get stronger unless you push past your comfort zone physically. If your arms aren’t burning in an arm series, then you’re not doing enough! Obviously we don’t want to push ourselves way past our comfort zone because then we just set ourselves up for failure or overwhelm (I’ve been there many times), but it’s finding that sweet spot right past what you had previously been able to accomplish. Because with a little push and extra effort, you now realize you can actually do even more! I am always reminding myself when I’m uncomfortable in a workout class that it’s worth it for the growth, and I realize I need to apply that same truth more to my life, because it’s a great reminder that we literally cannot get better unless we surrender some previous comfort we were holding onto and move beyond our previous expectations for ourselves.
Rest is key.
While we do want to push ourselves to grow, what we don’t want is to burnout. You have to know while you’re exercising when you’re pushing yourself too far and when you need to rest for a minute. There is NO SHAME in resting. Especially in a hot yoga class where everyone around you looks like perfectly sculpted supermodels, it’s important to remember that this is your own body and no one else’s. You need to respect it or you may injure yourself. In life, this reminds me that we do need to stop to rest and recharge, even if we feel like we could keep pushing, because ultimately our safety and health is at stake if we don’t.
Have fun and enjoy the process.
It’s all about the process of getting stronger, not the result of washboard abs. If you focus only on the result, you’ll be unhappy, but if you focus on the progress, you’ll be fulfilled. When I’ve been able to shift my mindset from “I want my arms to look like this” to “I want to be able to lift heavier weights and see myself getting stronger,” I have been so much happier with my fitness experience! It really is about being grateful for progress and not just waiting to be happy once we’ve hit certain milestones.
Motivating ourselves to keep up with our fitness routine can certainly be difficult, but I’ve found that it’s so worth it. I’m proud of myself for prioritizing my own health and making time, no matter what. Of course that looks different every week, but it’s more of an attitude than about fitting in a workout a certain number of times each week. My fitness journey has been so rewarding, and I love how good it’s been not only for my body but for my mind and soul as well.