After years of successful daily exercise (finally!), Julie shares below her 7 Reasons Why Daily Exercise Fosters Success.
I haven’t always enjoyed exercise. In fact, for the majority of my life I viewed it as a chore–a necessary evil. But over the last several years I have come to love it! Finding movement that made me feel powerful and that felt fun were key to that! But that’s a subject for a different blog post.
Today, I want to share with you the 7 reasons why I think daily exercise fosters success (for me “daily” means 6 times a week–I take Sundays off). It’s true in my own life and I’m sure at least a few of them will apply to you as well.
Let’s dive in!
1. The Domino Effect
We often refer to this type of effect when we talk about a negative outcome. But by definition, the domino effect simply means a cumulative effect produced when one event initiates a succession of similar events. So that can be negative or positive. And in this instance, we are talking about a cumulative positive impact.
When you choose to exercise consistently, hopefully daily, you are more likely to make other choices that impact your healthy positively. I find this to be the most true in the first few hours after my workouts. Later in the day? Well, I admit to having less willpower then!
But overall, my choices tend toward health more when I am in a pattern of consistent exercise. I’m more likely to have successful health habits across the board.
2. “I Can Do Hard Things”
You’ve heard this phrase, right? What this has come to mean to me is that, while getting that habit going was initially hard I now am in a place where it’s just part of me. I actually DID the hard part–getting the habit going. Now I’m maintaining that energy.
And now that I’ve done THAT hard thing, I have shown myself that I am capable of developing consistency and discipline. So, when faced with some other hard thing–whether that’s exercise related or not–I know I have done a hard thing before.
So I can likely do a hard thing again. And since I have successfully installed exercise as a non-negotiable, I know I can have success in other areas too.
3. Better Sleep Patterns
Now, I should state here that I am a morning exerciser so I can only speak to how this affects me when I exercise in the morning. I try to wake when it gets light (6 to 6:30am during Standard Time, 7 to 7:30am Savings Time). I highly recommend making exercise a part of your morning, if at all possible.
I’m not the best sleeper. It takes me a good bit to fall asleep and my sleep is very light until the few hours before waking. However, I am still able to see the benefits of consistent exercise. I fall asleep faster when I’ve been exercising regularly. And I am more apt to wake up on time.
I should also mention here that the first thing I do once I’m dressed in my workout gear is walk my dog. I think that one-mile walk outside really helps my body to start its daytime countdown.
While not every night is stellar for me (I’m jealous of those of you who can just snooze the night away with no interruptions), my sleep is much more successful with exercise than without.
4. Mental Health Benefits
After having exercised so consistently for several years now, I can honestly say that I rely on it just as much mentally as I do physically. My confidence and my mood are usually so much better after having exercised. I can really tell a difference when I miss a day.
The physical exertion really helps reduce and manage my stress. I feel lighter and more energetic after having completed my daily workouts.
On most days I walk my dog, do a resistance training workout, and then jump rope. Walking my dog is for both him and me; we both get outside to start our day. My resistance training helps me feel, well, bad@$$ and strong. And the jump rope is for fun! They all help me mentally and I’m just not willing to part with any of them.
5. Goal Setting Practice
Whether you have set a goal to hit a new PR (personal record, or PB, Personal Best) or just to START exercising regularly, you are practicing goal setting. And it’s important here to not set those first goals too high. They have to be realistic and reachable.
If you’re just starting out, setting a goal to walk for 15 minutes every day or to do a short workout 3 times a week may be challenge enough. And that’s important too–it should challenge you, but not be out of reach. When you hit that goal, up the ante.
For resistance training, this is easy. I’ll usually try to increase a weight to see if I’m ready for it. If not, no biggie. But that’s where I try to set the goal. For jump rope, it’s usually getting a certain number of consecutive movements, or learning a new trick. Not only am I practicing regular goal setting and attaining, I’m also challenging my mind. (see #4!)
I am more successful in other areas of my life when I maintain my successful exercise routine, and when I set goals within those routines.
6. More Energy and Clarity
Look, I’m not bounding through the day or anything. But when I compare myself now to what I was before I had this regular 6X a week exercise routine? I am leaps and bounds away from where I was.
Especially just after exercise, I’m more alert. I have more energy to get all my tasks done. (Well, most of them…sometimes my to-do list is just not attainable.) But the exertion, challenge, and habit have set my day up for success and I’m ready to take on what needs to be done. The increased clarity allows me to analyze my tasks for the day and make a plan for executing them.
Not only that, I also find I’m able to concentrate more when I’m on a specific task.
7. Fun & Creativity
This one’s a little more subjective, I guess. And it all depends on what YOU think is fun and creative.
Resistance training is fun for me because I work out alone, in our bonus room, while listening to music. I dance a little during the rest times and I find it really fun when I can increase a weight for the first time. Gym nerd.
But the most fun for me comes when I jump rope. About a year ago I noticed a lot of cool jump rope accounts on Instagram and was amazed at all the fun tricks. I figured I’d give it a go. Understand me when I tell you that I HATE CARDIO so for me to willingly take on a cardio exercise?….you know I’m having fun or I wouldn’t do it. I’m having a blast–the tricks are fun and challenging and it’s one of the best parts of my day.
Am I successful at every trick? No. I’m almost 52 at the time of this writing and my body does not always want to cooperate. But the fun and creativity of learning tricks and freestyle jumping keeps me going. And I’m successful because I keep trying. #nevergiveupneversurrender
So, dear reader, if you are on the fence at all about exercising I encourage you to jump all the way over. Find an exercise that challenges you but that you ENJOY. One of these 7 reasons why daily exercise fosters success is sure to benefit you right off the bat. Start letting the success of this amazing habit spill over into all aspects of your life!