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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 July 3, 2020

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words—many times your parents
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

1. For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

2. For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

4. For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
  • Shut down your thinking
  • Calm your feelings
  • Simply focus on the present moment

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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