One of the most precious resources in life is our time. Chances are, there are more demands on our lives than there seem to be hours in the day. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that our physical fitness can often feel more like a luxury than a necessity.

Let’s also acknowledge that our relationship to health and wellness varies man to man. Your mind might take you right back to gym class, where you were trying to do at least one pull up. You might be a lifelong athlete – someone who has all the gear, tried every sport, and is always on the go. You might try to live a healthy life, but struggle to find the space or energy to actually follow through on your intentions.

Where does physical fitness rank in your list of priorities? Whether first or last or somewhere in between, you may be missing out on some life-changing benefits that extend beyond the obvious.


How Fitness Shapes Up the Rest of Your Life

Every essential area of our lives (fitness being one) provides us benefits in and of themselves. But they also lay out a roadmap we can apply to other areas in which we may struggle. When it comes to your fitness, see how you might develop these five key virtues:

  1. Take Care. There is only one you, and no one should be more invested in caring for yourself than you! Prioritizing our physical health and well being affords us the strength, energy, and longevity to show up in the world for ourselves and others. And the many benefits outnumber and outweigh all the excuses we make to avoid it.
  2. Set Goals. Few things motivate us like choosing a target and hitting it. Maybe it’s an ideal weight, training for a race, or finishing a new program. Pick one that excites and challenges you. At the same time, be sure it’s SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
  3. Build Habits. Exercise works most effectively when we apply it consistently over time. That daily walk, weekly gym schedule, or long-term fitness program gives structure to your goals and helps keep you on track. The more you do something, the more it becomes part of who you are.
  4. Be Honest. When was the last time you actually looked at yourself in the mirror and were honest with yourself about what you saw? You might think of yourself as a healthy person, but the mirror might tell a different story. Check in on yourself regularly, acknowledge your limits and possibilities, and celebrate your progress.
  5. Expand Your Focus. When we prioritize our fitness, we start paying attention to other things as well. We learn to be more intentional about our diet, our hydration, our rest, and our recovery. The more we strive to be healthy, the more we begin to orient the rest of our lives around that vision for ourselves and our future.


Making Your Fitness Work for You

You were given one body to inhabit for the whole of your life. Care for it well. If you need to make some changes in your workout routine, remember what’s motivating you and resist the temptation to be lazy. 

Of course, it’s entirely possible to go overboard (just as it can be with our work, our relationships, or anything else). If you find yourself overly focused in this area, explore a new rhythm that allows for more balance, rather than one priority at the expense of another.  

Being more intentional with your fitness will necessitate a number of choices that – in the moment – might feel inconvenient, difficult, selfish, and/or futile. But with that tension comes an even more liberating principle: 

We will never meet the best version of ourselves inside our comfort zone.