There are several benefits of adding daily exercise to your lifestyle. Exercise is considered a holistic form of self-care and can reduce anxiety, depression and even encourage hair growth. But did you know that exercise can also improve your self-confidence? It’s easy to assume that confidence can come from changing your body, but self-confidence requires more than a pants size. True changes come from your mental, emotional, and physical changes. If you look at the benefits of exercise as a whole, it’s easy to see how these elements work together to improve not only your health but your sense of self.
Exercise improves your mental health
While we know working out can change our bodies, confidence doesn’t always happen in that change. In fact, loving yourself and feeling confident also requires a healthy mindset.
There have been several studies conducted on the benefits of exercise and your mental state. These studies concluded that exercise improves self-confidence by boosting your mood, alleviating negative thought patterns, and improving social anxiety symptoms. There is also a direct correlation between exercise and preventing/managing addiction.
Exercise positions you in the space of mental clarity and confidence, so when you start to see those physical changes, your mental well-being is also improving.
Exercise can improve your body
Weight loss should never be the driving force to exercise. It is typical to plateau, get discouraged, and quit if you base your progress on the scale alone. However, exercise does make lasting changes in your body beyond just your composition.
Exercise can improve your endurance, mobility, reduce pain, lower your blood pressure, and give you a significant boost in energy. When you feel better, your confidence grows because you can explore nature, take hikes, hang out with friends, and have more energy to enjoy your life.
Being able to enjoy being in your body supports your outward confidence as well.
Exercise can help you feel accomplished
Let’s face it; we are an ambitious society as a whole. And it feels good to work hard and enjoy the benefits of your efforts. With exercise, you can easily set fitness goals and work towards hitting milestones like running your first 5K marathon or benching a higher weight. Maybe it’s nailing that crow pose in your yoga class or improving your running time. Whatever that goal may look like to you, it’s a huge boost to your self-esteem when you hit those goals.
It is important to note that goals should be realistic. You probably won’t be able to run a 5K next month if you are just now starting to run. Accomplishment should be based around more than just the act of “doing,” but more so about the journey, it takes to get there. Sure, beating your running time or lifting heavier feels nice, but don’t forget to appreciate the early morning, dedication, healthier eating, and whatever else it took to achieve that goal.
Exercise can build your community
While exercise can be a solo act, as humans, we thrive in a community. Exercise is a great way to make friends, get support, and be part of something bigger. Social acceptance greatly influences your self-esteem, and having a support system will encourage your confidence in significant ways. Being in a group or community will help you build new skills, have friends to count on, and it always feels great to have others rooting you on. Thus, exercising can improve your social health.
There are a lot of running groups, yoga classes, CrossFit gyms, and other exercise groups you can join, based on your likes. It is also way easier to stick to new habits when you are partnering up with others.
The community aspects of group fitness have proven so effective, clinicians around the country have used it to help victims of abuse, keep patients in addiction recovery longer, and promote early childhood development.
You can discover new passions and hobbies
Sometimes life can get repetitive, and that in itself can affect your mental health. Our brains tend to be the happiest when they are trying and doing new things. When you start exploring daily movement, you can discover new and exciting passions. Maybe you take a yoga class and fall in love with the theology behind it. Maybe you enjoy learning about rock climbing and start investing in gear, planning trips, and join climbing groups. The whole goal behind the movement is finding something you truly enjoy. Not everyone wants to spend hours in the gym.
Maybe you prefer scenic hikes, jobs around your city, or yoga retreats. Exercise can be a pathway to new discoveries if we can see it beyond dreaded treadmills and protein shakes. What’s great for your self-esteem is discovering new and exciting things and also finding or reigniting your passions.
Exercise is a form of self-care
We all have busy lives, from working 40+ hours a week to running errands, being a parent or partner, and the other responsibilities that come with adulting. It’s easy to go through your day, hit bedtime, and realize you didn’t do one thing for yourself. You see, self-care is a compassionate act you can add to your day that will boost your self-confidence, and it just feels good. Daily movement can be a form of self-care that you schedule into your day, just like a meeting or appointment. It’s easy to do things for our loved ones, but equally important to know we are worthy of the same care, time, and intention. Self-care easily turns into self-love if you are consistent.
So what does self-care look like when it comes to exercise? It could be an early morning run while listening to your favorite music or even a lunchtime walk with your favorite co-worker. Regardless of how this looks for you, self-care is a great way to boost your confidence because you are making yourself a priority. When you make your needs a priority, you are saying, “I am worth it.” and that is a confidence boost all on its own.
Once you start enjoying the benefits of exercise, you will certainly feel a confidence boost. The benefits you feel will encourage you to start doing other things for your health like improving your nutrition, meditating, getting regular doctor visits. You might even begin treating yourself to things like those braces you always wanted, getting help with growing back your hair, or even a new wardrobe. Think of exercise as the start of a new journey to loving yourself and your life.
About the Author
Tiffany Fuller is a writer with a passion for holistic wellness, working for illumiflow, a revolutionary brand dedicated to helping you fight hair loss.