Let’s get our facts straight. I am not a fitness guru, or an Instagram model. I don’t chug protein powder for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and I definitely am not sponsored by GymShark. But I enjoy going to the gym, even if it’s not always been this way.
My relationship with going to the gym can be defined as “friends with benefits” type of situation. By that I mean that I am not constantly at the gym—it’s definitely not an everyday occurrence—but whenever I need to clear my mind, it’s the first place I go. And let’s be honest, with the craziness of university, that ends up being several times a week.
I am not here to give you an intricate workout routine, or tell you that you should work out. Rather, I wish to offer yet another activity that has helped me and may help you handle stress and improve your physical health and mental wellbeing.
I’m sure you’ve all heard that physical activity increases productivity, decreases stress, and betters your health, all of which is true. The one thing most important to us is our health, both physical and mental. Stress on its own is a catalyst for many diseases and disorders, and physical activity can act as a gatekeeper that may serve you well in the short-term and long-term.
I consider myself to be in good physical shape, but keeping shape is not why I work out. I don’t go to the gym to look a certain way; I go in order to feel a certain way. After a workout I feel accomplished, refreshed and clear-minded and I’m ready to take on the rest of my day without letting the stress of it all get to me.
It is important to define why you do what you do. This includes working out. Although managing your weight or your physicality is definitely an advantage, there are many others that should come first, such as: building strong bones, muscles and joints; feeling better overall with more energy and a better mood; lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels; ameliorating your sleep; and lastly, balancing the chemicals and hormones in your brain and body.
Different people will enjoy different parts of working out. For me, the beat of my music is what allows me to disconnect from the hecticness of this world. For you, it may be something different, but finding that aspect is what will allow you to stay motivated and make the most of your experience.
There are many other obvious alternatives to going to the gym. Walking, running, biking, swimming, tennis, basketball, soccer, yoga, pilates, and many more. What is crucial is finding what you love, what makes you feel good, and then sticking to it, until you get bored, and then switching it up.
So, who knows, maybe next time we can talk about why I’m training for a triathlon!