How To Be More Confident: Why Exercise Works Wonders
When the question of how to be more confident is racking up thousands of Google searches each month, it’s no question that feeling a greater sense of self-worth and empowerment is something many people are looking for. And when it comes to working out, here at Sweat we believe the confidence boost is one of the best reasons to move your body.
Of course, we love the benefits of exercise like the endorphin rush, getting a better night’s sleep, and building a stronger, healthier body, but being able to wake up each day feeling more self-assured, confident and empowered? The feeling is priceless. After all, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.
Building confidence through fitness isn’t just about believing in your capabilities during your workouts, it’s something that carries into your everyday life too. For years we’ve heard stories of women in the Sweat Community who have been prompted to make empowering changes to their lifestyle, career and relationships thanks to the new sense of confidence they discover through movement.
If learning how to be more confident in yourself has been on your personal to-do list for a while and you’re not sure where to start (or you’re simply looking for reasons to stay motivated and moving), working up a Sweat could be your answer. Here are eight reasons why.
Boost your mood and de-stress
Think back to a day when you felt low, stressed, unmotivated or overwhelmed, and we can guess that you probably didn’t feel particularly good within or about yourself at the time.
This is one of the reasons we love movement so much. Exercise is an easy and healthy way to release feel-good chemicals like endorphins and serotonin, and can be effective in improving your mood, stress levels and overall mental health. It can also be a great way to get outdoors (or just out of the house!) and in touch with other people if you’re feeling lonely or isolated.
Even better news? You don’t have to wait long to see the effects or do anything crazy (aka Kayla’s 1000-rep challenge) to start reaping the mental rewards of fitness. So how long does it take? Just 5 minutes, according to the American Psychological Association. They say people usually experience the mood-enhancing effect of exercise within five minutes of moving at a moderate intensity, with research showing exercise can even help alleviate symptoms of depression and improve your response to stress.
According to Gallup, just 20 minutes of exercise also has the power to improve your mood for hours after your workout is over, or even the entire day!
While exercise can definitely be a tool to help boost your mood and de-stress, it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for professional mental health help. If you’ve noticed changes to how you think and feel that concern you, reach out to your healthcare provider for advice. Remember, talking about your mental health is SO important and it’s okay to reach out for help.
A healthier, more energetic you
Having plenty of energy and being in good health can feed into your confidence levels, and regular exercise can work wonders on both fronts.
Whether you feel your best doing intense HIIT workouts, yoga flows, long walks, lifting weights, or enjoying the Pilates burn, exercise can be beneficial for several mood-altering aspects of your health such as sleep quality, circulation, alertness, digestion and skin health.
Your body is your home for every day of your life and the healthier you feel, the easier it is to be outwardly confident and tackle whatever the day throws at you, move towards your goals or simply be your authentic self.
Make YOU a priority
A significant part of confidence is about knowing your worth, and what better way to give that a boost than by putting your wellbeing first? Not only is regular exercise a great way to prioritise your health, but it can also act as a beautiful reminder of how important it is to honour your own needs and enjoy some self-care or me-time.
After making exercise a habit, you might find you want to take care of yourself in other ways that will benefit your mood and confidence, such as practicing gratitude, eating more fruit and vegetables, hydrating, getting into bed earlier or starting a mindfulness practice.
Build strength - inside and out
Feeling stronger within your own skin often goes hand-in-hand with feeling more confident in your own skin, and Sweat programs like Lift with Laura or PWR Strength will help you unlock your full potential. Other programs like Mobility & Strength in Motion are designed to help you move beyond your limitations and stretch your range of motion.
“Good mobility gives you the freedom to confidently walk through life knowing your body is capable of whatever challenge you throw at it,” says Sweat trainer Kelly MacDonald.
Working out doesn’t just build your physical strength - it also develops your mental strength and shows you that you’re capable of so much more than you first thought. A fitter, stronger body can also lead to improved posture, and there’s nothing that says confidence like walking into a room with your head up and shoulders back.
Life made meaningful
Feeling a sense of achievement is an instant win for your confidence, no matter what realm of life it’s in, and working on your fitness is a powerful way to feel that winning buzz on the regular. This theory is supported by the American Psychological Association who say that exercise can boost your outlook by providing you with meaningful activity and a sense of accomplishment.
Whether it’s running your first kilometre, completing a new Sweat program, trying an unfamiliar training style, earning a new Sweat badge, smashing your streak record, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, doing push-ups on your toes or simply clicking start on a workout, fitness offers so many opportunities to celebrate your achievements and progress.
Setting fitness goals can also add a sense of meaning to your days by giving you a sense of purpose, something to strive for or get excited about.
The gift of connection
Anyone who has had a workout buddy can attest to the positive effects of making exercise a social activity - it really is such a confidence builder to have a friend cheer you on through every sweaty rep! But if IRL workouts aren’t your jam, there are plenty of ways to add a social element to your workout routine.
Besides real-life connections, the American Council on Exercise says you can create a network of positivity by making friends or following people online with similar interests, and the Sweat Community is a global network like no other of women supporting women.
Strengthen your mind-body connection and self-talk
We don’t know about you, but when motivation is low or you’re trying to get through a tough workout, a little internal pep talk can go a long way. Using positive self-talk to get through your workouts can rub off into moments of your everyday life, too.
You’ve got this.
Don’t give up.
You’re almost there.
If it’s a goal of yours to improve your mind-body connection, training styles like yoga, mobility training, Pilates and strength training are great options. For a program that combines strength training with elements of mindfulness, Kelsey Wells’ Redefine Fitness program is an amazing place to start.
Better body image
Although here at Sweat we know there are so many other meaningful and motivating reasons to exercise beyond how your body looks, feeling happy within your skin is a powerful motivator for some, and research has shown that regular exercise can promote healthy and positive body image.
According to Gallup and data from over 80,000 interviews with adults in the US, those who report exercising for 30 minutes every day in a week feel best about their physical appearance, while those who exercise no more than once per week feel the worst. Start small, as each additional day of movement is associated with a small improvement.
56% of Americans who exercise two days per week feel good about their appearance, and this figure increases to 60% for those who exercise three to six times per week.
These findings highlight that even if physical changes or goals aren’t a priority for you, exercise can still improve your body image and how you feel about yourself.
We love to think of exercise and confidence as a constant feedback loop. The more you do it, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the more you want to do it.
Start to make Sweat a weekly habit, and get ready to watch your confidence grow with every workout.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.