The Mental Benefits of Working Out

Due to work and other chores that we have to complete in our daily lives, it is easy to make full use of the odd time-off to relax and be a couch potato. Add binge eating the various kinds of snacks available nowadays to the equation, you’ll have the perfect formula for obesity. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Everyone remembers the time when they are in the best shape of their life. In my case, I was during my time in the university. Fit and lean, with a weight of 78kg and standing tall at 1.79cm. Graduation came and adulthood kicked me right in my face. I was no longer young and free. ‘Work’ and ‘responsibility’ appeared in my dictionary and I unknowingly erased health and fitness out of it.
Fast forward four years later, I was an absolute unit weighed at a whopping 105kg. Everything feels wrong and uneasy. The simple act of sitting at my workstation was very discomforting whilst climbing a few flight of stairs got me struggling for air, let alone…running. It was then that I realised that a change in lifestyle is due. So I dragged my “heavy self” to the gym, signed up for a membership and the journey started.
Presently, a year since I started my fitness journey, I now weigh approximately 86kg. Sure, I lost nearly 20kg but the striking thing for me is not what working out did to my body but the effect it had on my mental health and outlook on life.

I weighed myself every morning during the 1-year period and the steady decrease in weight was very satisfying. With every workout session, I was always able to either lift heavier, complete more repetitions or run an extra kilometre. These brought me a great sense of achievement and it felt like my hard work paid off. Every inch shed off my waist, every extra repetition and every kilogram lost on the weighing scale gave me those little building blocks of confidence.

Working out did not only require me to put in hard work but if you are not focused during the workout session, you might as well save your time and snooze in bed. How many times have you come across those who moan and groan (complain) that they have been working out but the results are hard to come by? I can bet you that the very same person spent more time in the gym looking at their phone rather than…work out.
For me, it was vital to keep track of my progress. Tracking the numbers helps me set new goals and keeps me motivated and that, requires focus.

Determination is a mindset, working out regularly can increase our capacity for determination. I like to set short term goals for my workout. From trying to do unassisted pull-ups to benching more weights, I have always tried to set harder goals progressively. I get such a rush from every passing goal and it gives me the drive to do even better.

As days go by, health and fitness come into greater prominence and it is easy to see why. The general consensus used to be that working out is for people who wanted to look “shredded” like a body builder but nowadays, people are more appreciative of how it improves your health, fitness and mental state. Now, numerous health institutions are incorporating the use of exercise as part of an overall treatment plan for certain mental health conditions.

And I can definitely say that working out has helped me in the office – I am more confident, more focused and more determined. So…get up, work out and you will be even more productive in the office.