Yes I Can
Most of us know the physical benefits that follow an exercise session, even a short one, such as lower blood pressure and better blood sugar control. Lesser known are the equally impressive mental and psychological benefits, some of which we discussed in “Exercise and Your Brain” (see below “Black Knights”) last August.
Another powerful psychological benefit is discussed in this Health Day article - a “feeling of competence” that spills over into other aspects of life. Albert Bandura, PhD, a Stanford psychologist, calls this ”self-efficacy.” He says self-efficacy is built through mastery experiences. What is interesting is these experiences don’t have to be extreme accomplishments like climbing Mt. Everest. They can be very simple and basic.
That’s why exercise is perfect for building your self-efficacy. You have a period of time or a number of repetitions or a movement to complete. Your goal is measurable and specific.
Unlike, say, eating a piece of chocolate cake, exercise requires effort, will power, and sweat. At times, it will feel slightly unpleasant because you breathe hard, your heart beats fast, your muscles burn.
But afterwards, many wonderful feelings follow, as sure as the sun rises in the east. You feel stronger, more relaxed, more alert, more flexible, more resilient.
You did it. You’ve been empowered.