One of the greatest things I have learned in my own fitness and health journey is just how much the skills and lessons you acquire translate over into everyday life. Because of this, fitness and health are not just important to our bodies but in EVERY ASPECT of life. Here are just a few of the lessons that fitness teaches you:
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
Yes, we hear this all the time (thanks Kelly Clarkson!), but an easy way to get a taste of what this actually means without experiencing a major life trauma is through fitness. When you’re in the midst of a killer workout, and you really do feel like you are going to die but you make it through anyways, you literally end up stronger than you were when you began.
You learn that something may be really tough to do, and you may feel like giving up or letting it beat you. However, if you don’t, your reward is waiting for you, and that is strength.
In fitness, your muscles will rebuild what you have torn down during exercise, only bigger than before, faster than before, more efficient than before, because your body knows what it needs to get through the next workout.
Use this metaphor in life to understand that no matter what life throws at you, you can use that to rebuild yourself with more knowledge, more understanding, and more mental toughness. You end up being a better version of yourself.
One Foot In Front of the Other
When I run, I usually hate every second of the first mile or so. After I reach a certain point, because of experience, I know that I’ll get my “second wind” and be able to run for many more miles. But the first mile or two are really hard for me, and I want to quit running with almost every step.
So when I run, I make a deal with myself that I’ll just get to the first bridge, and then if I want I can turn around. But pretty much 99% of the time, by the time I get to that bridge, I think I can make it a little more, so I tell myself I can turn around if I just make it to the next bridge.
Sometimes on really tough days, I have to make deals with myself just to get through the next 10 feet. Before I know it, I have 5 miles under my belt and feel great.
This is a great approach to life as well. When times are tough, just take it a few minutes at a time, a few hours, a few days. Get through the moment and before you know it, you’re there.
You don’t have to run the whole 5 miles all at once, it comes with a series of steps and the effort put into each one of those. Remember this the next time a difficult situation comes up and it will remind you to focus on the short term so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.
Caring For Yourself
One of the biggest life lessons that fitness has taught me is taking care of myself. Before, I put everyone else’s needs before mine. I did not self-care because I had children and a spouse to take care of.
It was a hard concept for me to swallow, but it started with going to yoga twice a week, even though that meant putting my two youngest in the gym daycare for an hour. Once I realized that a) my girls were fine and b) yoga made me a better person for my kids to be around, it was an easy choice to keep adding to that.
I began to exercise more and more, which led me to want to eat better. And even recently, getting into physical shape made me want to get my mental fitness in order as well. Not only am I healthy and happy, but I’m a much better mom and role model for my kids now than I have ever been. This all started through my choice to take care of myself through fitness.
You’re Only Limited By Your Own Imagination
If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be sprinting, doing pull-ups, have a six-pack after 4 pregnancies, love healthy food and even eat cauliflower regularly, I’d have guffawed. This is a life I only dreamt of and never even imagined for myself. But I wanted it, I worked for it, I stopped telling myself I couldn’t or I didn’t have time or all the other BS excuses and I went after it, and I’ll be damned if I’m not sitting here with a six-pack.
I have dreams outside of fitness, an entire list of them, and they feel real to me. I know now that anything is possible. I’ll try just about anything because I know now that I should never limit myself.
Everyone who was great at anything, including fitness, started out just exactly where you are. The only difference between you and them is that they stopped believing “Not me”. If I can have a six-pack, maybe I can have that dream job???? The world is mine.