Fitness Training Offers Benefits in All Parts of Your Life

(Photo: Stock image.)
A couple walks in the woods. (Stock image)

Whether you call it working out or just moving, physical activity has many tangible and intangible benefits for all of us.

Staying fit, mobile and healthy requires effort, but you will be surprised that fitness does not have to include hard-core training routines. In fact, too many hard-core training routines without easier recovery days can create worse results than the ones experienced by those who do not train at all.

My personal journey into fitness started for a variety of basic and simple reasons. From weight loss to weight gain; getting bigger, stronger or faster; playing sports or for health concerns, we all have a reason why we start moving.

You will need a reason why to continue as well. Falling off the training wagon happens all the time, mainly because the reasons why we started did not evolve with the times and situations as we age.

One thing you have to realize and remember is: "Fitness is a journey, not a destination."

Fitness can be a simple 30-minute walk every day, or you can prepare for more challenging fitness goals. It does not matter. The intangible benefits are still there for all levels of fitness abilities.

Here is a list of many benefits that go beyond your health and wellness:

A disciplined life. When you start making time to exercise, you will find that on days that you are not 100% motivated to move, the discipline you have created by building daily habits will keep you going. Discipline created on the physical side of your life makes it easier to build discipline in other areas of your life, including work, school and even family life.

Work ethic. As you increase your physical ability, your abilities in other areas will increase as well. Taking care of your health not only increases your body's ability to move longer, but also improves your energy levels in other aspects of your life. You will notice increased work capacity as a benefit to your fitness relatively quickly as you progress.

Mental toughness. When you stick to a plan even when you don't feel like it, you can use your initial motivation to build habits, be more consistent and become more disciplined. As your motivation evolves into discipline, you will find that, day by day, you start the building blocks of a more resilient mind and body -- aka "mental toughness" or "grit."

The ability to challenge yourself to be more comfortable doing uncomfortable things also can apply to long days at work and studying harder for exams. This is where the mind and body connect. 

General confidence, mood and attitude. Fitness can help you battle a lack of confidence and a general negative mood and attitude that can develop when working with others or trying new and challenging things. Fitness is growth, not only in muscles and stronger bones, but personally and professionally as well.

By increasing your ability to run, lift, do calisthenics, be more flexible and in general do things others cannot, you will become an example to people. That is meaningful and empowering.

Immune system. Now, more than ever, you need to find a balance of physical activity to help improve your immune system. You need some combination of exercise (but not too much), eating healthfully and resting.

Working out too hard can cause increased stress response and actually worsen your immune system. Not exercising also can have negative effects on your immune system. For the sake of staying healthy, find a proper balance with fitness is key. Beginner Fitness IdeasAvoid Overtraining / More Recovery

Better performance physically and in sleeping. Sleep is critical to your long-term survival from daily stresses. Due to the increased activity and ability to sleep better at night, the stress-relieving benefits of exercise are doubled with this delicate balancing act of activity and rest. Fitness allows you to fall asleep faster and deeper. However, too much activity can lead to insomnia.

Starting a fitness program drives you to start taking care of yourself. You may find you drink more water than before, eat better than before and, most importantly, drop bad habits. By making fitness a habit, you will find that other good habits follow, and the desire to drop bad ones starts to manifest itself.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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