Working Out is My Favorite Therapy
And it's made me happier!
Scientifically, physical exercise has been proven time and time again to improve a person’s mental health. This is through the release of endorphins in the brain which relieve stress and create positive feelings in the brain. It’s why doctors advised everyone to start going on walks when the pandemic hit, and why there’s such a thing as “runner’s high.” But, you probably didn’t need me telling you that because it’s more or less common knowledge. So what if I told you that exercising regularly has helped me become a happier, more confident person?
A year and a half ago, when I started working out I was a very different person than I am now. I have since learned more about my limits, physical and mental, and I have gained a new sense of drive and determination that I didn’t have before.
When the world went on lockdown I began working out as a way to keep my body in shape since I couldn’t go to my regular figure skating practices. However, working out soon turned into a social activity, I would FaceTime friends in Brazil and exercise with them. By doing this I started looking forward to that hour of exercise.
Soon, I began to notice definition in my abs when I looked in the mirror. This made me feel confident and I wanted to see if I could continue building muscle and definition. I quickly decided to begin eating healthier, and I enjoyed my time doing exercise, which in turn led to more prolonged feelings of happiness and achievement.
It should come as no surprise that when the world opened up again I got a job at a cycling studio and worked there for a year before I moved to NYC.
I became addicted (in a healthy way) to moving my body and taking care of myself. I planned out time in my day to do a quick ab workout, or go to a 45 minute cycling class, and found joy again in my skating practices.
Since moving to New York I have tried to keep my body moving as much as possible in order to fight against the inevitable homesickness. This isn’t a hard task here, I’ve learned to appreciate walking everywhere, especially alone. It’s really calming to walk in the city with headphones in and pass all these people that you will never see again. And, there are the obvious health benefits such as: improved circulation, healthy calorie burning which leads to healthy weight loss, and increased heart health. However, my physical health isn’t the only thing improving by this new habit of walking; I’ve noticed a great increase in my self confidence as well as I strutted down Greenwich Village on my way to class.
Now, as much as I love working out, that doesn’t mean I have the drive, determination, or even desire to do it all the time. Especially during hard days — aka days that working out would help — it can be extremely easy to self sabotage and create excuses to not go to the gym or even take a walk around the block. It can be easy to simply not want to feel better and just stay home. These struggles are real, I go through them too, and it’s ok to stay in bed some days, but at the end of the day we have to push ourselves in a healthy way and not give up. That first time back to the gym is so good after being away for awhile.
I urge you to take one day this week to work out, the results might surprise you :)
About the author
hi :) my name is beca and im a freshman at nyu! i love writing more than anything. in my opinion writing is the best form of self expression. here i will get to share what i am passionate about, i hope you enjoy.