It’s common knowledge that regular physical exercise is important for maintaining your health. And through science, we are now beginning to discover other positive benefits as well.
Findings show that regular physical exercise will make you smarter, happier, and more creative.
So, exercise is pretty much a no-brainer, even for these reasons alone. However, there is one thing that often gets forgotten, and that is the incredible increase in self-confidence that comes along with exercise.
I was a D1 level athlete in college. Physical training was a part of my everyday life.
When I graduated, and got myself an office job, I no longer seemed to have time for regular exercise. I didn’t stop exercising right off the bat but, slowly and surely, the time I spent on exercise began decreasing.
This coincided with a slump I began feeling in my mood. I had a feeling that something wasn’t right. I didn’t feel like the person I used to be back when I exercised at a daily basis.
I felt like I had lost some of my self-confidence.
I couldn’t tie together the connection between self-confidence and exercise. Exercise had been such an integral part of my life for such a long time, yet I had no idea how much it actually affected my mental state.
Things began taking a shift for the better once I joined a basketball team and started making sure I worked out regularly.
What To Do If Your Self-Confidence is Running Low?
Well, the simplest answer is to begin exercising immediately, not tomorrow – but today.
One study shows that even a little regular exercise can improve your self-image.
This study showed that it doesn’t really matter how amazing, or not-so-amazing, you are in the physical activity of your choice. What matters, is that you are just exercising regularly.
You don’t have to be lightning fast, or strong as a bull to have exercise increase your self-confidence.
If you’re in shape to only walk around the block, do that. If you only have time to do a few push-ups in the morning, then do those push-ups.
However, if you want to optimize the self-confidence boosting benefits of exercise, there are a few things you should take into account.
Let’s dive in!
Getting Fit to Defend The Tribe
As you probably know, the human race has developed from a lineage of hunter-gatherers. During these times it was vital for us to be able to defend our tribes from outside threats.
If you were out of shape in those times, you were in big trouble. Being out of shape would have made you feel quite uncomfortable for a good reason. This feeling acted as a motivator to stay in good enough shape to be able to defend yourself and your family.
A part of our brains is still “hard wired” to these times. So we will still begin feeling uncomfortable when we aren’t in good physical shape.
When you’re in good physical shape, your brain will naturally be telling you that you’re on doing all right. Your self-confidence will naturally fall in line.
Every Man Should Be Able to Save His Own Life
This leads us to our next point.
It’s hard to feel good about yourself if you’re not in shape to save your own life.
When you’re strong enough to pull your body over obstacles, and capable of running away from a threat, you’ll feel like you’re able to take care of yourself.
This awareness will bring along confidence.
There is a strong connection between knowing that you can take care of yourself if a threat arises, and with your self-confidence.
It’s possible to be overly concerned with your looks. Many these days are, to the point where it becomes a limitation to their well-being.
And optimally you wouldn’t associate your self-image with your looks. Yet, I’ve noticed that when I take care of how I look I feel better about myself.
So why not find a physical activity that will make you look good, as an added benefit.
Your appearance will begin adapting to the physical activities that you do regularly, so choose wisely.
Focus On Your Strengths
Tim Ferriss, the New York Times Best seller and blogger, wrote about focusing on your strengths, and not trying to fix your weaknesses:
“My body is designed to lift heavy objects and throw them, and that’s it. I ignored this for a long time. I tried swimming and looked like a drowning monkey. I tried basketball and looked like a caveman. Then I became a fighter and took off.”
So if you want to increase your self-confidence it’s better to do something that you feel you’re good at. You should look at what your body is best suited for.
If you’re short and stout you might have a natural advantage in doing something that a tall and slender person can’t do that well.
It’s simple, we feel better about ourselves when we are doing things we are good at.
So, do some research and experiment with different types of exercise. Look for things that you have a hunch you could be good at.
Sports can offer a great platform to practice dealing with challenges.
If you go to the gym and push yourself to a new bench press record, you’ll be able to take this victory with you to other areas of your life.
You’ll begin seeing things in your life as challenges instead of obstacles, just like weights at the gym.
A tough customer becomes a challenge. Building a business becomes an exciting new feat to conquer.
Choose a sport that you can challenge yourself in. Once you begin handling these challenges, you’ll gain confidence to use in other parts of your life as well.
It has been found that regular physical exercise makes your body release chemicals called endorphins. When these chemicals interact with receptors in your brain they act as natural painkillers.
These endorphins lead to a sense of well-being, and reduced pain. They alleviate emotional distress, and most importantly, they increase self-confidence.
Exercise is a pretty amazing thing! It seems that nature rewards us for it on many different levels.
Self-confidence won’t come to you by accident. You have to work at it.
You can’t get confident by just thinking about confidence; you actually have to take action.
To my knowledge, regular physical exercise is the simplest way to increase self-confidence, and its other benefits make it a very smart choice.
So if you’re interested in boosting your self-confidence, look no further than those old exercise clothes and shoes buried at the back of the closet.
Juha writes at PrinceAwakened on Personal Development for the ‘awake and aware’. If you liked this article, you might also enjoy one of his top posts: We are Becoming Obsolete – 7 Tips to Help You Stay Relevant in the Future.