Exercise is a must for those who are looking to enhance the quality of their life, and if you’re here then surely, you’re this type of individual. Physical training enhances the cardiovascular system and you surely shouldn’t overlook this because of the cognitive and physical benefits listed below:
Physical Benefits of Exercise:
- Heavily decreases the chances of lifestyle diseases such as strokes, heart attack, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes
- Increases bone density
- Helps those with insomnia to actually sleep
Cognitive Benefits of Exercise:
- Neurogenesis meaning the creation of NEW neurons
- Release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and endorphins which enhances your mood and elevates your baseline emotional state (this is the evidence that many articles refer to when they write about exercise and it’s ability to combat depression)
- Increase blood flow throughout your body AND brain which means, you’ll efficiently sends nutrients to your brain which results in enhanced cognition.
- Exercise does release cortisol during the process however it outweighs the cortisol that it alleviates
Additional Benefits of Exercise
Furthermore, physical training breeds confidence. Some people even find their initial rush of confidence from the feeling of strength they receive after exercising. This is great. But there’s a slight issue.
You must exercise consistently to reap the benefits, and to do so requires willpower.
Because, when do you ever say,
“Yes, I get to workout”?!
It likely sounds like,
“Damn it. Another day of grinding, let’s go.”
You’re going to the gym to get results whether it’s to lose fat or increase your muscle mass, not to enjoy the pain that comes from exercise. So, we can agree that exercise is not particularly an enjoyable activity and therefore, it requires willpower and guess what, willpower is a muscle.
Just like muscles, willpower does get exhausted. So, what do you do when you don’t have the willpower to push yourself to exercise because you’ve just exerted massive effort in the office to finish a project before it’s deadline to feel incentivized to bust open into your boss’ office to ask for a well deserved raise?
Let’s be real, most will take the day off because the mind won’t want to deal with another stressor, aka exercise in this context. But, if you can change your perspective from “working out” to something else like fun-ing out, you’re likely to go, right?
Even if your willpower is completely drained and you feel like a chicken-brained zombie, you’re likely to go out if your friends give you a call even if it’s to engage in a physical sport like tennis or paintball. And, why? Because, we won’t perceive it as work.
We’ll perceive it as fun primarily because we’re social creatures who feel good when we’re interacting with other people.
How to Get Yourself to Exercise When You Don’t Have the Will-Power
Then, the best way to work out is to change our perception of it. To replace the word ‘work’ with ‘fun’ in ‘work out’ and therefore change our perception of the physical activity.
This is do-able primarily through interactive physical exercises and most physical exercises as long as you’re doing it with others.
You’ll go out without forcing yourself, and that’s the best part because you’ll organically want to engage.
This will encourage you to maintain an active lifestyle for the rest of your life as well as preserve your willpower to tackle other important tasks in life such as meeting deadlines, taking the extra effort to close another deal, taking a risk for a new venture and to ensure that you see it through, and to delay gratification in order to maintain beneficial habits that will increase your chances of success.
That is exactly why you’ll see fit grandpas not in the gym but playing tennis and cycling some scenic route with their friends.
So, if you’re there lacking the willpower to exercise then here are a few suggestions:
- Play Tennis with a friend and turn it into a competition with a prize on the line such as dinner or tickets to the next game of your favorite sports team.
- Join a social running group that meets up weekly and jog/run.
- Hike a location you haven’t experienced with your friends.
- Grab Nerf Guns and engage in Nerf Wars with your co-workers.
- Get boxing gloves and mitts, call a friend, and practice self-defense with your friend(s).
- Rent a bike and cycle the nearest scenic route
When you’re exhausted and the thought of going to the gym or running around the neighborhood literally hurts your head, don’t just give up your routine of physically training. Keep that habit by using the perception hack.
Doing so will not only make you healthier than before you started, you’ll feel better solely because you were around others, and you’ll feel proud of yourself that you did engage in a physical exercise and maintained that habit.
That’s a win.
Win every day regardless of how you feel because this will lead to success in every avenue of your life.
About the Author
This was written by Nicholas Cho who created a team building activity company to encourage individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Nicholas is an athlete who engages in a variety of different physical movements, and avidly studies neuroscience to link the relationship between physical movement and cognition.