And then the genie granted me my one wish—to feel good for a life time. Isn’t that what many of us want? If you think about one single thing that would lead to complete fulfillment in life I believe it would be simply feeling good, physically and emotionally. Why do people use drugs? Why do people form relationships? go to work? spend time in hobbies? People use drugs to feel better. People form relationships so they won’t feel lonely. If you don’t have a job you are not going to feel good because you aren’t accomplishing anything. When you get down to it, almost anything we do in life is aimed at achieving this “good” feeling. Many will search for the key to attaining this feeling for a lifetime but I’m relieved and ecstatic that I’ve found it through exercise.
Georgia State University lists some of the benefits of exercise on their website: helps to reduce or maintain body weight or body fat; build and maintain healthy muscles, bones, and joints; reduce depression and anxiety; improve psychological well-being; enhance work, recreation, and sport performance. So aside from feeling good physically, exercise can actually increase psychological well-being. That means it can decrease mood swings and make you see the world in a more positive way. This “good feeling” even helps with productivity (work, recreation, and sports).
In the gym I feel powerful. As I finish each set, my muscles burn with fatigue. I look at my arms to see the intense swelling from the blood rushing to my muscles. The rush of testosterone to my head that I once hated and gave me nausea, now gives me a feeling of eminence, almost as if had just used an illicit drug. I crank out as many repetitions as I can muster each set as my muscles slowly get weaker. By the time I finish my last set, this euphoric feeling turns to exhaustion. I then walk out of the gym feeling proud of the effort I just gave.
This exhaustion only lasts till I get back home. Now, as I toss some chicken breasts on my George Foreman Grill, I realize how much better I feel than before I went to the gym. I feel better physically, meaning I have more energy. I feel better psychologically because my physical self-image has increased and I’m also in a better mood, partly due to exercise being a stress reliever and also because of the pride I feel after completing a hard workout.
Resistance training is one form of exercise that I particularly enjoy. Anybody can find an exercise or activity that is well suited for him or her. It’s important to find one you enjoy. Just like having kids, it won’t always be fun, but what you will receive in return will far outweigh the work and time you put into it!
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.