Start with this and everything else will flourish.
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”— Mahatma Gandhi
EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Any advice or recommendation given in my writing is what works for ME and may not be the best regimen for you based on your psychological or physiological makeup and stability. Please consult a doctor when making decisions about your health.
When most people read the Gandhi quote above, they shake their heads in agreement and think it makes so much sense.
However, individuals probably immediately follow that up that with numerous reasons why they can’t work out on a regular basis or eat right consistently. They cite the list of consistent responsibilities that involve their kids, work, or other “important” things they feel are outside of their control.
While I admit there are a number of things that make working out and eating right more difficult for some than for others, this doesn’t change the fact that if you are able to establish fitness at the core of your foundation, then you have a greater chance of seeing success in almost every other arena of your life.
Why is that?
While most people think that living a healthy lifestyle is mostly related to looking good and living longer, there are several other major benefits that will make a tremendous difference in one’s life in so many ways.
1. Sharper wit and intelligence
When most people think of the benefits of working out and eating healthy, they think about how amazing it would be to lose 20–30 lbs and fit into that dress out of college or look great when they take their shirt off at the beach.
And while those are both good reasons to find ways to live a fit lifestyle, one of the major benefits that so many people just discount is how much better working out can make them from an intellectual standpoint.
Exercise has been scientifically proven to improve your focus in the short and long term.
From a short-term perspective, studies conducted show working out improves your ability to remember things and sharpens focus up to 2–3 hours following the exercise.
Have a big presentation that morning? Make sure to get a great workout to get your brain ready to go and recall information quicker and more efficiently.
From a long-term perspective, scientists have done other studies that prove working out targets a subregion of your hippocampus that is important for your memory and helps creates new brain cells to maintain and improve the way your brain works.
By working out, your brain tends to stay stronger longer to allow you to stay at the top of your game, while also increasing the chance that you can retain new information easier.
2. Better sex
The most obvious way that fitness helps this endeavor is that sex (the way most people probably perform it) is a physical activity and by being in better shape, you’ll have the stamina and energy to do more things than just the normal run-of-the-mill routines that your parents may have done.
While you probably don’t need a study to know this, one still exists that found men who are in better physical shape have more energy and are more excited about having sex than those who are not.
For women, exercise has led to as much as a 169% increase in sexual arousal and stronger, more intense orgasms.
Both of these studies could be related to the importance of blood flow as it relates to sex and how exercising and eating healthy promotes this in a number of ways.
The other, more subtle way that exercise helps one’s sex life is just by reducing the amount of stress in one’s life.
Stress has been known to be a mood killer and will physiologically and psychologically decrease one’s interest and ability to perform sexual activities. This is because stress causes the body to produce more cortisol that will naturally decrease our libido over time if not regulated.
Exercising is one of the ways to prevent this from happening.
3. Better immune system
I hate being sick.
It can become a bit depressing because not only do you not feel good when you’re sick, but you’re not able to truly perform at your best when you’re under the weather.
I never truly realized how unexciting being sick was until these last two years because of COVID. Due to being uber-careful to protect myself, I’ve been fortunate to not only not get COVID but also not even have a cold in the last two years.
I do think that part of this is related to me being as careful as possible in most situations, while the other part is related to a strengthened immune system that comes from exercising and trying to eat the right things consistently.
While you shouldn’t overdo it, it has been scientifically proven that exercising on a regular basis is a booster to your immune system and will allow you to stave off various bad germs much better than someone who lives a life of inactivity.
On another note, by eating healthy, you are also laying the foundation of a healthy, strong immune system, as opposed to someone who doesn’t.
Eating foods that are high in protein and antioxidants have been known to help your body get plenty of the micronutrients needed for proper immune function.
Being healthy and staving over various colds or bouts of being sick will indirectly allow you to increase the time you are always at the top of your game for work or any other endeavor you pursue.
4. Better quality of life as you age
When most people are young, they don’t think about eating healthy or working out at all because their body just tends to have the ability to bounce back or stay in great physical shape naturally since their metabolisms are high and often their lifestyle involves doing things that have a fair amount of physical activity (intramural sports, dancing at clubs, etc.)
As we age, however, and various responsibilities begin to accumulate, the opportunity to participate in physical activities without planning for it decreases dramatically and one has to be much more intentional to make this happen.
Due to the fact that your highest quality earning years are between the age of 35–54, this is the time that you should be the most focused on putting in the quality of work that will allow you to produce at your top level.
Also, as you age, you will often have more time to do things that you may have wanted to do when you were younger and just didn’t have the time to do so because of some of the same responsibilities that made exercising and eating right difficult.
Therefore, it is immensely important to keep yourself physically fit and in good shape as you age to enjoy all the money that you are going to make in these prime earning years.
By exercising, eating right, and living a lifestyle that will keep you feeling young as you get older, not only will your body be in much better shape to enjoy life but, as shared earlier, your mind will be much sharper and stronger, as well as better equipped to stave off diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
5. More confidence and overall happiness
This last reason is probably the one that gets to the crux of why fitness is so important as a foundation for your life.
Often, when you are in better shape and feel that you look better overall, you are in a much better mental space as it relates to having confidence in yourself and your abilities.
We’ve all heard the mantra “look good, feel good,” and I think we’ve all experienced the feeling of putting on that nice outfit or getting that new haircut that makes us believe that this statement is true.
However, it turns out that there actually may be a bit of science behind the reality of how it works and how we underestimate our mind’s natural tendency to make judgments on others based on their physical appearance.
This is known as the halo effect and typically points to the way we are naturally drawn to individuals who have a more visually appealing appearance. It is a cognitive bias that relates to the way individuals are drawn to people who dress nice and are considered generally overall attractive.
This often translates to us feeling that they are naturally intelligent and competent when we may have had no interaction with them at all to prove that.
In regards to your own self-assessment, it would be natural to think that if this is a human tendency in regards to your analysis of what you think of others, then why wouldn’t you also use this for yourself as you judge your own self-worth.
Therefore, your own happiness and confidence could be affected by a SELF-halo effect in which by looking in a mirror and seeing a physical appearance that does not appeal to you, you are hurting your ability to feel confident in your own abilities and self-worth
By exercising, eating healthy, and getting in better shape, you dramatically increase the chances that you’ll like what you see when you look in the mirror and will just feel overall more confident in yourself as an individual.
And this could become a virtuous cycle since as you work out and feel better about yourself from creating a positive self-image, others will possibly begin to respond to you in a more positive manner due to how the halo effect shapes the way they perceive you.
Fitness begets confidence that begets the halo effect that begets even more confidence.
The cycle is yours to begin as long as you’re willing to put in the hard work and start with laying fitness as the core foundation.
Your future self will thank you in so many ways…or at least the five I mentioned above.