“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” – Muhammad Ali
Why is it that, after the initial shock and depression of a life setback, many of us feel a profound urge to “get back in shape” – that is, a drive to shake up and reengineer our diet and exercise plans? This desire feels natural and healthy; and it’s certainly better than wallowing.
But what possible connection could there be between getting your body back in shape and getting your life back in shape?
Well, you might be surprised. As humans, our survival and self-preservation instincts are strong. We (at least in theory) are drawn to activities and relationships that fulfill us and increase our fitness. Obviously, these instincts don’t always guide us accurately, but they do a better job than most acknowledge. 999 times out of 1,000, we make the right choices for our survival: we avoid walking in front of the bus. We stay away from scary, out of control people. Etcetera.
Back to the point: most of us know the obvious health benefits of exercise and proper diet (e.g., better heart health, muscle tone, weight loss). However, there are other benefits to exercise in general, and strength training in particular, that are less talked-about but can be quite helpful for people who are getting over a divorce or a family/career setback:
Reclaim a fresh sense of control
There’s nothing quite like going through a divorce to make us feel helpless or out of control—and in fact, with most life crises, that’s exactly how we feel. Getting in shape is a tangible way to “take the power back” at times when we feel powerless otherwise. Many people put it this way: “I can’t control my circumstances right now, but I can control how I look/feel.”
Help fight depression
Yes, exercise does more than just help you physically—it helps you mentally, as well. In fact, studies have shown that strength training is as effective in treating the symptoms of depression as running, swimming or other forms of aerobic exercise.
This article in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society also offers compelling suggestive evidence that regular strength training may offer protection against diseases of aging, like dementia.
Reduce stress levels
No one needs to tell you divorce is extremely stressful. Over time, this stress can affect your health negatively. Strength training is a great way to offload that stress. An article in The Warm Up blog elaborates: “The norepinephrine released when you strength train can also counter the effects of stress. These effects can carry throughout your day, especially if you tune into those noticeable changes to your physicality.”
Gain mental stamina along with physical stamina
One of the qualities needed to get through a divorce is perseverance. Using strength training to get back in shape builds this quality in a tangible way. Per fitness expert John Carrico: “Weight training teaches you to push yourself when everything tells you to stop, when your muscles start to give out and it burns and it hurts. When we get into those high-intensity situations, we have a choice, we can either stop everything and try to return to our comfort level, or decide that this level of discomfort is worth the reward.”
Get your mojo back
Getting back into shape offers a way to prepare for new relationships, not just physically, but also (and perhaps more critically) psychologically.
If you or a loved one are facing a divorce or other family law matter and you need help through the process, please contact the Law Offices of Silky Sahnan today at 925-276-0789 to schedule your confidential consultation.