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How Working Out Consistently Taught Me To Be More Patient

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

I haven’t always been a gym rat. In fact, up until about seven months ago I would rarely even step foot in a gym. So what started this mild gym obsession, you may ask? Just a general desire to do more for myself and my body, and a hope that having an independent activity to stay with consistently would lead me to be more in touch with myself. 

Seven months later, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for sticking to it. I’ve seen real changes, not just in my physical health, but my mental health. Working out has helped me appreciate my body more and understand the lengths of its capabilities. But the most major change I’ve noticed as an effect of working out has been in my patience and attention span.

Part of the reason I believe it’s difficult to get into working out in the first place is because of the time it takes – and as a busy student, I don’t have precious time to waste. I remember that before I got really into going to the gym, every second on the treadmill would feel like hours: hours during which I couldn’t check my messages, hours of studying that I was losing. It felt so much easier to just skip the gym and spend that time on TikTok, fully engaged and immersed instead of bored working out. I think part of this issue is just becoming comfortable with one’s own mind and thoughts, removing all the anxieties plaguing the back of my mind that I didn’t want to be alone with. With the instant access to the internet that the modern age has given us, the average attention span shrinks by the minute (or at least that’s what it felt like for me).

Before I started working out consistently, I had no solution for the issue of my ever-shrinking attention span. I had no idea that working out would be the answer I was looking for. After what would seem like I had been on the treadmill forever, checking the screen to see that I’d only walked .25 of a mile was the most exhausting feeling. It almost felt unbearable to think about doing that again and again. But I had a mission, and enough motivation to complete that mission.

By pushing myself through moments where I wanted to give up and go home, I taught myself patience. I taught myself to step back from the situation, and ask, what am I losing by staying for a little longer? What am I so scared to be alone with? Learning to take things one step at a time is a skill that has changed every aspect of my life for the better. What I tell myself when I’m pushing myself to do one more rep is the same thing I tell myself when I’m pushing myself to ten more minutes of studying, or making my bed in the morning. 

If you’re thinking about starting to work out, and wondering if it’s worth it, I hope I’ve convinced you. Along with the improvement of your physical health, you’ll start to learn to appreciate every detail and every moment in itself, without looking at them as simply means to an end.

Ariana, or Aria, is a third year philosophy major at UCLA. She enjoys fashion, 19th and 20th century feminism novels, cartoons, shoegaze music, rock climbing, baking, and spending time with friends.