We all know the physical and physiological benefits of regular exercise-reducing our risk for disease, creating a lean, fit, toned body, improving our quality of sleep, greater energy, vitality and so much more. However, working with hundreds of clients for twenty years, I’ve seen time and time again another incredible yet often overlooked benefit from regular and consistent exercise…the link between a strong body and a strong mind.
Here are just a few of the ways this link occurs:
• Regular exercise gives us a sense of control. When so many things are out of our control, we can become anxious, agitated, stressed and uncomfortable. Exercise is something within our control in the way we exercise, the level of intensity we put in, how often we exercise and the results we receive. Gaining control in certain areas of our life reduces anxiety while giving us a greater sense of order and routine. This creates the sense that we’re living proactively, where we’re creating the life we want vs. living reactively where we’re reacting to life happening to us.
• Exercise gives an increased ability to focus and concentrate. Because exercise encourages more restful sleep and clarity, we wake up sharper, refreshed and energized vs. fatigued and lethargic. Those are qualities that give us an edge and advantage in business as well as life. We have better retention; getting more from what we read, hear or see. We’re also able to react more quickly whether it’s an immediate business decision that needs to be made or a life threatening response that needs to be acted on. Through regular exercise, our reflexes are quicker and sharper.
• Exercise impacts the way we carry ourselves. Through regular activity, our posture improves, we hold ourselves straighter and with more confidence. This increased confidence impacts the way we move, our body language even our stride. How does this translate? To others we’re seen as being more competent, confident, successful and trustworthy.
• Our image. The better we feel, the more interest we often have in conveying that healthy image through the way we dress, speak and move. With an improved image, we may want to dress better and take better care of ourselves physically/mentally/emotionally/spiritually while giving ourselves the self-care we need to nourish our body and mind.
• Self-love. The more we love ourselves, the greater capacity we have to love others. Giving ourselves the gift of fitness shows ourselves we’re worth the time and effort it takes to achieve a healthy and fit body and the result of our self-love benefits all within our care and reach.
• The qualities we have. When we exercise regularly, it demonstrates qualities such as consistency, persistence, commitment and dedication. How does this help us in business? When someone looks to do business with someone and they see that they have these qualities when it comes to fitness and health, they may subconsciously assume that they have those same qualities when it comes to doing business as well. Wouldn’t you want to work with someone who feels a strong sense of dedication and commitment when they’re doing work or are in partnership with you?
• Less stressed. This happens in a few ways. One is through the rhythmic movement of aerobic activity (ex: walking, running, etc.) Thoughts that have been sitting on the back burner have an opportunity to be brought to the surface and thought through, similarly to one of the many benefits of meditation. A reduction in stress also happens through high intensity physical activity (ex: interval training, bootcamp classes, kickboxing, etc.). High intensity activity or punching/kicking like the kind in a kickboxing class can let out all the steam from a frustrating day.
• Confidence. When we show ourselves that we’re committed to taking care of our bodies, it increases our confidence. This improved confidence may be just what we need to feel confident enough to try something else out of our comfort zone whether that means seeking out new relationships or exploring other personal or professional opportunities.
• Improving our quality of life. As we age, daily activities we take for granted now become more difficult if we fail to preserve our strength and health. Things like walking, taking the stairs, carrying packages, tying our shoes and even getting out of bed require muscular strength and flexibility. Preserving our independence, dignity and pride can often be achieved by preserving our strength.
• A healthy way to self-medicate. Exercise floods the body with “feel good” chemicals and endorphins. This is the same feeling that non-exercisers may try to achieve through other self-soothing and self-medicating behaviors like overeating, compulsive shopping, drinking, smoking, taking drugs or getting involved in reckless behavior.
• A healthier perspective and improved emotional outlook. Because of the mental and emotional benefits of regular and consistent activity, a healthier and more positive perspective and emotional outlook typically emerges. Just try to be as angry or upset about a situation after a rigorous exercise session or a beautiful jog on a gorgeous running path. It’s impossible!
• Greater emotional strength and a way to reduce symptoms of depression. Because of the power of exercise from the endorphin boost to the improved confidence, greater sense of control and so much more, exercise can help to combat and alleviate symptoms of depression. In fact, studies are showing that many health professionals including those in the fields of mental health who have incorporated exercise into their work with depressed patients have reported positive results.
• Exercise makes us feel good. After all, isn’t that what we’re after?
Over the years, I’ve worked with so many people who wanted to improve their physical strength so they can gain the “mental muscle” needed to come back after a crisis, illness, tragedy or trauma. Whether recovering from a disease, choosing a new professional path, getting back in the game after a divorce or bouncing back from a setback, I’ve seen countless times how a strong body leads to a strong mind…and how exercise is one of the most powerful means to get there.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
That I have little control over my kids. I can teach, show by example, role model, etc. and then need to sit back and hope they take the path that serves them best.
What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate my resilience and determination. I’ve had so many roadblocks and setbacks but I’m so driven to share my message that while I keep getting knocked down, I get up every time.
I’m working on patience! I have a husband, 4 kids, 6 dogs and a business. Patience to understand that I may not be able to get all I want done when I want to is a continual challenge.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
My family. I’m married to my best friend (we’re together 30 years!), we have 4 awesome kids and I’m doing the work I love which is helping thousands of others become their personal and professional best. Does it get better than that?! I have so many things I still want to do. I had my first event last May and this May, while the last event was great, I want to make this one even better. I’m also having my first small retreat for 8-10 women this December and I want to fill my group programs with the women who’d benefit from being in them.
We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Ha! So many! I’m completely impatient-I do way too much, get too stressed and my health takes a nose dive. This happens often (you’d think I’d learn from it already) but I love what I do and take on too much. I also speak to small and large groups. I get so excited, it’s normal for me to completely trip over my words because I’m so eager to share what I’ve learn/seen to help others. I still strive to get some work/life balance (which I don’t believe in anyway-I feel we’re better off being 100% in the space we’re in vs. being 50% at work and 50% at home and not being fully present anywhere.
“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)
Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my drive, passion for what I’m doing, ability to handle (to the best of my abilities) all these kids, dogs and still stay connected to my husband. I love doing the work I love, inspiring others, making an impact and helping people get to the top of their game physically, mentally and emotionally so they can become their personal/professional best.