To me, physical activities were defined as athletics that people do for extracurriculars or hobbies, and hence, not a necessity. To add to that, I was never gifted with physical abilities, as I am nothing close to agile, hand-eye coordinated, or fast. The most active thing I actually enjoy is walking, something I can do well without mourning my own lack of skill. As such, I have never been excited by physical activities, and even dismissed them as insignificant. However, I have recently come to understand my distaste for working out has a major impact on my overall wellness.
[bf_image id="qf4cmf-dzsjw8-auy0qh"] There are many ways to improve one’s wellness. For instance, healthy eating habits, sleeping for more than eight hours, satisfactory social interactions, stress management, and of course, exercising. I assumed that by better coordinating all the factors except for exercising, I would be fine. And of course, my so-believed youth seemed to have had greater power in keeping me functional without physical fitness. But with the impact of COVID-19, my ability to delicately control the rest of these factors diminished and the need for physical fitness came to be of major importance.
Hence, I put myself through some workout routines. I am still nowhere near being fit, but I am getting healthier and actually feel better. Honestly, the regiments were torturous at first, and I have skipped multiple days, but I have been impressed by its impacts on my daily life, and I hope a few of my insights can be motivating.
As many students would agree, incorporating hobbies and interests into your day beyond academics is immensely important in having a self-defined good day. But despite the obvious pleasures of such activities, even initiating or enjoying hobbies requires energy. For me, I often found myself drained after three hours of classes. As a result, I could not cook, read a book, or play an instrument as I dreamed I would with the amount of time I spend at home. As these repetitive days passed by, I became more and more gloomy, bored, and constantly tired.
To my surprise, my lack of physical wellness has had a direct effect on my mental health, as I deemed a relatively inactive day to be unfulfilling. I found that you need physical fitness to better distribute your energy to a wider array of activities. Hence, your fitness not only relates to your bodily conditions but also affects the quality of your day.
Furthermore, focusing on one’s own fitness may fix the erroneous stigma that exercising is only an effort to become attractive. Personally, my motive was to become healthier and fitter rather than to become thinner. In these ways, working out challenged my deeply embedded beliefs regarding how I judge myself and others. By working on physical fitness, you get to not only become physically healthier but also mentally!
Last but not least, the most important thing I realized through working out is the fact that I feel better about myself. Not simply in the means of “looking better,” but in terms of how I am improving my willpower and well-being, I have become proud of my own endeavors. It’s analogous to studying in a sense as I am pushing myself to go beyond my own limits or preferences, and its effects have been truly empowering.
Physical fitness is not based on age or abilities, it’s based on effort and diligence. And its benefits are numerous, with tons of articles and research papers proving its importance. I understand that physical pursuits are difficult to achieve amidst the current situations, but you can incorporate diverse workout sessions through YouTube! Although that may appear ineffective, even PE courses at MHC were conducted virtually through Zoom, and many students have found it invigorating. If you can go out and exercise, that’s great! Please be aware of your surroundings, wear a mask, and I hope it’s immensely rewarding.
“If there is anything you want to achieve, build your physical strength first. The reason why you often collapse in the second half, the reason recovery is slow after taking damage, after making a mistake, it’s all because of the limitations of your stamina. If your physical strength is weak, you will quickly find comfort, and then your patience will fall, and if you can’t stand that exhaustion, you'll end up with a game that doesn't matter anymore. If you want to win, first create a body that will withstand your troubles. Without the protection of physical strength, mental strength is a mere slogan.” - (translated from) “Misaeng: Incomplete Life” -
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