We are all our own worst critics, and your perceptions of your own capabilities play a part in negative thinking. In today’s blog, let’s focus on increasing your self-esteem and self-worth through the benefits that exercise can provide.
The Benefits We Can’t See
Although we’re focusing on the mind in this blog post, you can’t deny that exercise helps the body. The results of working out consistently are visible in potential weight loss and toned muscle, and a physician can measure how much your heart and bones are strengthening because of your efforts.
But often, the mental benefits of exercise are unseen. Risk for chronic disease, high blood pressure, and signs of depression and anxiety are all lowered with continued exercise. Achievement is reached when small goals are set and met, automatically increasing your self-esteem and hopefully challenging you to set a new goal. As long as you vary your workouts to avoid boredom or plateaus, exercise can be an exciting way to get fit on the outside and the inside. Try working out with friends, participating in sports, or throwing in some classes to boot!
Changes To Your Appearance
As mentioned above, we can also acknowledge that improving your physical abilities and your waistline can also improve your self-esteem. We’ve all examined ourselves in the mirror, picking apart every little thing we don’t like about ourselves. But after a good workout, looking back and seeing muscle tone is a good feeling. There isn’t a specific formula for complete happiness equaling how much weight to lose, how much muscle to gain, or how long to exercise for. Yet, the ability to see some of the aspects of yourself that you’re most self-conscious of change over time is a great step towards self-acceptance and pride.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Everyone has a different genetic makeup and sometimes you can’t beat your genes. Comparing yourself to how others look is only going to lower your self-esteem. Focusing inwardly on what you can control will not only help you do what’s best for your body, but it will allow you to set your own standards of how you should look and give you a better overall perception of yourself.
How Meditation Can Help
Activities such as meditation, yoga, and the like can decrease negative thoughts, as well as tension, depression, and anxiety. Blood sugar, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and food-seeking behavior can also be regulated, as stress can lead to weight gain. The prefrontal cortex of the brain, which controls immune function and general levels of happiness, is stimulated by meditation. So if you haven’t tried these techniques before, give them a try in an effort to release tension and also improve IQ and memory.
Keep It Steady…
So if even moderate exercise and low intensity focus can help, does that mean that high-intensity workouts multiple times a day help even more? Studies say no. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice found no difference in mental results between low-impact aerobics (including the aforementioned yoga and meditation) and high-intensity methods. So go at your own pace, and don’t force yourself to be superhuman.
…And Keep Going!
Got any other ideas on how you can improve your self-image through fitness? Leave them below in our comments section so other Elite members can benefit!