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Three Lesser Known Benefits Of Exercise For Introverts

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

A potent trio of less obvious reasons for introverts to get moving and stay active.

It's no secret that exercise has numerous benefits and if you follow my blog, you will have picked up a few of particular relevance to introverts. In this post, I want to go deeper on three benefits of exercise for introverts that are not so obvious but nonetheless important and powerful:

  1. The first is an adaptation of an observation by Harvard researcher and prolific public speaker Shawn Achor whose research indicates one of the primary contributors to our happiness is the belief that our behaviour matters. As introverts our quiet, reserved nature often results in us being overlooked or even ignored. I feel this way often; though it is possibly a result of being softly-spoken (so I am told - I have very acute hearing so everyone else sounds like they are bellowing to me). Properly performed exercise will change your body whether it's an extra inch on your biceps, a dropped dress size or more stamina climbing stairs and reinforce your belief that your behaviour has made the difference. It's all you!

  2. Introverts are notorious for living inside our heads. That's why I turned my back on academia and now revel in watching trashy reality TV shows. Another (more positive) way to get out of your head is to engage your physical senses in exercise. Like anything new, learning the patterns of weight training exercises or mastering the art of staying upright on the moving belt of a treadmill require your full attention and a welcome escape from an overactive mind. The benefits continue as your skills develop until you experience what recently departed Positive Psychology pioneer Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi termed 'flow' - that wonderful state of being so fully immersed in an activity that all background distractions fade away and time disappears. It's a beautiful thing...

  3. Now do a180 and consider the introvert's love of structure. We typically thrive on routine and this is a good thing when it comes to exercise. I am always preaching that consistency is the number 1, most important, bar none, factor in the success of any exercise program. You may have the best scientifically- backed, macro-enhanced four-day split known to Arnold Schwarzenegger but if you are haphazard about following it you are destined to achieve squat (at least a weak squat). Speaking of Arnold (as I frequently do), he has consistently credited the discipline he learned in bodybuilding with his subsequent success in acting, politics and business. From planning your week to accommodate training sessions to the actual components of your program (sets, reps, duration, etc), there's plenty to satisfy the introvert's need for structure.

While losing body fat, gaining muscle, increasing cardiovascular fitness and even mood enhancement are more prominently touted benefits of exercise, there are more subtle advantages of being active that truly enhance the introvert life.

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