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9 Unexpected Ways Exercise Improves Your Life

9 Unexpected Ways Exercise Improves Your Life

At the age of 95, America’s famous fitness and health guru Jack Lalanne was asked: ”Jack, how do you do it? How do you keep up with the pace of daily workouts? Don’t you ever feel tempted to fall off the wagon? His answer: ”You bet I do. But I don’t do it.”

From the age of fifteen to ninety-five, Jack Lalanne exercised every morning without failure; his passion for exercise served him well throughout his entire life. Your probably wondering: how could a man at the age ninety-five bring himself to workout every morning? Well, you’ll know the answer why in this article, as I share with you 10 unexpected ways exercise improves your life.

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1. Exercise Increases Energy

Ironically, movement gives us more energy. If you ever experience days of feeling sluggish and unmotivated, getting yourself to a gym and flexing your body can allow room for more energy. There is a fine line between exhaustion and tiredness. In most cases, ones’s ”tiredness” is little more than a temporary situation, and one that can be changed significantly with a little exercise.

2. Exercise Builds Confidence

We’re not talking about ego inflation. Exercise can build new levels of confidence, zapping anxiety, which then makes it easier for us do the things we normally put off doing. You see, the confidence you receive from exercise not only allows you to feel better about your overall image, but you can apply this new wave of confidence to virtually every area of your life, allowing you to overcome some of the things you may have once avoided. When it comes to taking the next step in your new vocation, exercise may be a key ingredient to your success

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3. Exercise Strengthens Bones

Just like muscle, bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. No matter your age, having healthy bones is vital. As we age, a loss in strength and bone mass is unavoidable, so it’s very important that we work our muscles by the use of heavy weights to maintain as much muscle and bone strength as possible. This in turn will benefit us down the line when it comes to our older years, preventing falls and fractures.

4. Exercise Hypes Your Metabolism

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has been known to eat everything in sight — anything from up to 12,000 calories a day! As hard as he works, he doesn’t expend 12,000 calories in physical activity; yet he doesn’t gain weight. That’s because exercise increases the number of mitochondria in the form of increased muscle. And increased muscle means you burn more energy at rest, which improves your metabolic status. Through exercise, the rate at which you burn calories at rest increases, which allows you to eat better. Not only this, but metabolic improvements translate into disease prevention, as a study of thirty-eight thousand american men showed that physical activity was more potent in preventing heart disease, even whilst maintaining their weight, because of the metabolic advantages.

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5. Exercise Improves The Immune System

Exercise improves the immune system because it helps flush bacteria out of the lungs, decreasing the chances of getting flu, cold or other airborne illnesses. Not only this, but due to the rise in body heat temperature of physical activity, this can prevent bacterial growth, allowing the body to fight off infections. Studies also show that exercise can detect illnesses earlier, because it sends antibodies and white blood cells through the body at a quicker rate, allowing you to fight off potential bacteria coming your way.

6. Exercise Burns ‘Stubborn’ Fat Deposits

The stomach and lower back areas of the body get most of our attention when it comes to looking good and feeling good. Unfortunately, the body wants to hold some extra fat in these two areas — it’s a survival thing. Whilst it’s okay to have a little body fat, we live in a day and age where food isn’t scarce and our demand to look the best we can is more our concern. Exercise is the only way to burn off these stubborn body fat deposits, as diet alone isn’t enough. High-intensity exercise has shown to rid these stubborn body fat deposits most effectively, along with having the correct nutrition.

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7. Exercise Builds Mental Strength And Discipline.

Exercise is a reflection of character and personal values. Pushing yourself to work out takes mental discipline. This mental strength and discipline to workout regularly usually takes effect in other areas of life, also — the discipline to eat correctly. The strength to take on new life challenges. The discipline to be more self-organised and structured. When it comes to working the body and pushing past the pain barriers, we not only develop a better physique, but strength of mind that will stay with us virtually forever.

8. Exercise Keeps You Fit Even If You’re Fat

It’s better to be fat and fit than thin and sick. Those carrying the extra pounds but still take up some form of exercise, are usually better off than the skinny person who does no exercise at all. Exercise mitigates all the negative effects of obesity and visceral fat, health complaints and longevity. So it shows that even if you are fat but take up exercise, you’ll likely live longer than the stick thin model on the magazine covers. 

8. Exercise Improves Longevity

If Jack Lalanne wasn’t a good example of how exercise can improve life span, take another example of 80-year-old body builder Jim Arrington, who is still lifting strong today! There’s no doubt that exercise can improve one’s lifespan significantly; unfortunately, exercise seems only to be a rare habit amongst older individuals. However, studies do show that those who remain consistent with exercise throughout their entire lives, better the chances of still going at it well into their much older years.

9. Exercising Leads To Better Habits

What most people don’t realise is that the habit of regular exercise leads to more empowering habits. A person who is consistent with exercise is usually someone who is consistent in many areas of life that serve them well — nutrition habits, goal setting habits, career habits, etc. Rarely do you find a gym lover not being an overall health lover. If you can motivate yourself to be in the gym regularly, the chances are, you’re able to motivate yourself to do more of the things in life you want. If you think about: those with serious weight issues don’t exercise. Those who don’t exercise aren’t reading health books. Those not reading health books don’t value health. Those who with no value for health don’t have a track record of habits to get in shape. The habit of exercise usually follows a track record of other healthy habits.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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