Physical exercise is one of the golden keys to the fabled realm of happiness and contentment. It is a shame that far too many people self-define as ‘non-sporty’, thinking that because they didn’t win any prizes in school sports day, or get picked for any of the school teams, they were somehow just not suited to exercise. I for one really didn’t get a great deal out of competitive sport, and would have been in danger of becoming a real coach potato if it wasn’t for the fact that I became incredibly depressed and anxious during my early twenties, I might never have discovered exercise at all.
Fortunately for me, my mental state was so intolerable that I was ready to try anything to sort it out. As it happens, it was the ancient Chinese discipline of Chi Gung that helped me turn things around. This was the exercise that I started doing every day and with which I turned myself from an anxiety-ridden, paranoid insomniac into a functioning human being.
Of course, as anyone who has embarked upon a lasting exercise program will tell you, the really great thing about exercise is that it does more than one thing. In the first instance, it can turn you back from someone who is really struggling in life, to someone who is at least coping. However, if you then continue to exercise regularly, you quite quickly find yourself more capable, more confident, and more on your game than you ever have been in your life.
For me, my twenties stopped being the hideous decline into old age that I was worried it was, and instead became a path along which I was glad to travel, since each new day found me happier, fitter, stronger and more successful than the day before. Leg exercises boosted my ability to run and keep up with the kids. Arm exercises made moving house a doddle. Core exercises improved my posture. The list of improvements is really endless.
Exercise is fantastic because of this sense of achievement. Each day you face that same challenge of doing the thing you do not want to do, and each time you do it, you have conquered that spirit of procrastination, of laziness, of apathy, and each day that follows that battle is a little easier. Before you know it, you are one of those people who is living life on their own terms.
It’s great to have material possessions, and a good job and great social standing, but if you haven’t got any of these things, it doesn’t matter, because you can always exercise, and appropriate exercise is always of benefit to you. It is your master control for your own universe. After all, your body is the thing that you actually are, it makes sense that if you keep it in good shape, you keep your life in good shape.