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Is There More to Working Out Than Just Exercise?

The health benefits of exercise are well documented and getting fit has been shown to help prevent and improve many health concerns. Not talked about as much is how getting fit can bring improvements to all aspects of life. The following blog offers one person's account of the benefits of getting fit and illustrates how the lessons learned in the gym can carry over into both home and professional life.

I love CrossFit! (I’m hearing the groans now, “Those people are so annoying! They eat, drink and sleep CrossFit. That is all they talk about!”)

While I wouldn’t necessarily put myself in the obsessed category, the pursuit of fitness has become a big part of my life, and through it I have learned many things that apply not just in the gym, but to life in general. Although the lessons have been many, my biggest take away has been humility. This sense of humility has provided me with life lessons that I try to apply at home and at work as well.

For those who don’t know, CrossFit is a fitness workout defined as constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. Those varied functional movements are drawn from gymnastics (handstand hold), weight lifting (clean and jerk), running, rowing, pull-ups and burpees - just to name a few.

I was introduced to humility right away because I knew nothing about gymnastics or weightlifting. I also couldn’t do a pull-up and I’m not a fast runner or rower.

In the spirit of having a hobby that my husband and I could do together, we went to the introduction classes to learn the movements. That is where I first had to check my ego at the door. I hated feeling silly in learning the moves because I had never done them before. However, once I let go of the fear of looking silly and became a little more humble, I opened myself up to learning something new. It also allowed me to get to know people I might otherwise find intimidating. I learned so much from the others at the box (as CrossFitters refer to a gym; I know – annoying), which is one of the reasons for the family-like atmosphere. We are there to push each other in a WOD - the CrossFit acronym for workout of the day - but also, in my case, to celebrate life events, such as work promotions, marriages and babies. We have also come together to help people through sicknesses and helped raise money for great causes.

No matter how long you have been doing CrossFit workouts, or how good you get at it, it never gets easier. It is always challenging and that is what I love about it. It teaches me to let go of what I think other people’s opinions are of me, to be kind to others - especially new people who may be nervous, to work on improving my weaknesses but also to appreciate my accomplishments. The CrossFit program helps push me to be the best person I can be.

The bonus is that all of these benefits carry over to my home and work life as well. I guess you have to ask my husband if I am easier to live with (haha!). Of course, I think I am and I think these lessons have carried over to my work life as well. I try to be the best version of myself - pushing myself outside my comfort zone (e.g., presenting at conferences), being open to meeting new people, and doing my best to help solve my clients insurance and reinsurance problems.

If you think you’d like to start a fitness routine, or if you just want to change up yours, I would encourage you to go for it.* It’s likely you’ll find that you’ll not only feel better physically and mentally, but you will also learn many things that will be helpful in improving other aspects of your life as well. 

* Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.


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