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Wellbeing and Exercise: How to Reinvent Yourself. (By jamie styles)

If you are anything like me, sports wasn’t your thing. I am terrible at almost every sport or activity that requires even the smallest amount of coordination. Yet, for me, personal fitness was a messy divorce with an unhealthy mentality.

For me, the benefits of exercise were always mental. Exercise is the one hobby, where the reward is dependent on how much you put in. When I was 15, dumbbells provided me with an escape, a way to express feelings that I may have neglected. Although I had no idea what I was doing, it was not the point. Working out allowed me to challenge my negative expectations of myself and redefine who I was.

Since I was young, exercise has been secondary to everything else. I was never an athlete, but that wasn’t the point. I had attended Muay Thai classes and worked out for a while; I even got to the stage of a regular gym routine. The thing that changed everything for me was the pandemic.

I was so determined not to ruin the progress I had made with exercise that I made sure to make exercise a part of my routine. I ran every day that summer. I needed some relief during exam season, something to take the edge off the mountain of stress piling down on me. Running was the perfect escape; I ran for only about 30mins or so, but it was up steep hills the whole way. As someone who is very determined as a person, it made me push myself even harder than I thought I could. When I was having a bad day, the hill was still there, and there was only one way back to my car.

Although I was running every day, I also made sure to work out. I did my research and started compound lifting. I lifted light weights; being skinny with long arms, I could not lift anything too heavy. Until gradually, I began to see results.

Fitness was pushing my resistant mind and learning about who I was and what makes me, me. I will never be an athlete, but I sure will do better than I did the week previous. It shifted my mindset from one of constant comparison to one of beating my last attempt. The exercise gave me time to reflect on these preconceived notions of self and replace them with positive insights into who I am.

Fitness has continued in my life to be one of the most constant and mentally clarifying activities I do. Before journalling or appreciation or any other mental activity, I would suggest exercise. The first stage in my reinvention was exercise, and the only step that is constantly maintained for me is exercise.

The essential advice I would give you is:

  1. Start small: Ignore your ego and try something easy that can fit into a good routine.

  2. Join tasks: Add an audiobook or music, but only listen to them when exercising, so a natural reward is involved.

  3. Take The Time To Reflect: Think of what you want to achieve and how you are working towards it. Give counterexamples to negative ideas about yourself. Show yourself who you really are.

Want to know more about my journey, click here.

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