When kick-starting a fitness plan, the future benefits we envisage are powerful motivators. Maybe you want a rock hard six pack. Or bulging biceps. Or to fit into last year’s favourite dress. Perhaps all you want is to complete a tough OCR before going on to beat all your pals at an arm wrestle! The point is, it’s easy to focus solely on what exercise can do for your body, while overlooking the amazing array of social benefits it brings.
Exercise regularly, and you’ll soon feel better about yourself. You’ll gain confidence and be naturally more relaxed in social situations. Shy and reserved? Enrol in a fitness activity. Before you know it, you’ll be chatting away with new buddies, discussing everything from how the kids are doing to how to remove rust stains from clothes after a wild run. Check out the following 5 social benefits of fitness and get involved:
New fitness endeavours tend to pull new people into your orbit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a football team, gym, or marathon you’ve signed up for. All sporting endeavours, even individual ones, breed their own social communities. Participate, and watch your circle expand. Meeting people from different walks of life will enrich you socially, as will belonging to a group with a common, healthy interest.
Resist the urge to keep pushing the snooze button and instead push yourself to exercise. Not only will your body become fitter, but your mind will too. As you progress towards your goal of becoming faster, stronger, or leaner, you’ll find your self-image will keep pace. When we improve our self-image, we can find the following things also improve:
- Increased levels of self-esteem
- More self-respect
- Increased sense of self-worth
- More confidence
Having a healthier self-image can make us happier and more comfortable within ourselves – and improvements in self-image can also have direct, obvious social benefits. We are more likely to enjoy socialising for instance, developing new, healthy friendships.
Stress is extremely detrimental to overall health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Too much stress affects concentration and prevents relaxation, making social situations tough, or something to avoid entirely. Exercise helps reduce stress in the body by releasing chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These act in a similar way to painkillers, relieving stress in the body and promoting better sleep. Less stress also means:
- Improved ability to relax
- Increased enjoyment of social situations
- Better ability to focus and communicate with others
- Feeling more “present” during social interactions
As you continue to push yourself fitness-wise, your endurance levels and resilience will steadily improve. Become stronger and faster physically and you’ll notice you also become tougher mentally with an improved capacity to cope with knock backs or those little annoyances in day-to-day life. Take OCR for instance, a pursuit guaranteed to stop you crying over spilt milk as you learn vital lessons like never to be scared of a little mud on your clothes! This new resilience will help you be:
- Better able to cope with pressure in all situations
- Less likely to let others ruffle your feathers
- More patient and disciplined
- More likely to be shown respect
- A more well-rounded person
- Capable of leading and mentoring others
Beating Depression & Anxiety
Physical exercise is an excellent tool for those prone to experiencing mild depression or bouts of anxiety. Regular workouts help us to maintain a positive mental outlook, keeping the dreaded blues at bay. Falling into an emotional rut becomes less likely. When not bogged down by relentless negative emotions or crippled by anxiety, people are more likely to desire and enjoy social interaction. Genuine connections with others also become easier to achieve.
Now you have twice as many reasons to exercise, for healthy body and mind!