I’m sure you’ve read an article or two about the benefits of exercising. Besides the obvious benefits to your health, other perks often mentioned include: going up a flight of stairs without getting winded, having the energy to play with your kids/grandkids/niece/nephew/dog-who-thinks-he’s-a-kid/etc., improved skin, and lower stress.
That’s all great, and I love it. But there are other benefits that are just as important no one’s talking. Well, it’s a good thing you’ve got me. Here are a few of my unsung benefits of exercising.
1) Sing, Sing, Baby
To my daughter’s dismay, I love to sing. Like many others, I perform best in my car. I’ve got the car-jam down by now. However, some songs are a bit trickier than others. Prior to regular exercise, singing/rapping along with artists such as Eminem was usually a lightheaded experience. I either missed half the words as I sucked in air, or I turned into a red-faced balloon as I attempted to reach the lyrical break before taking my next breath. Not such a good thing for my car-based performances. However, regular exercise gave me better endurance. Forget about how increased endurance benefits me going up a flight of stairs—it’s much more fun to not get winded during a wicked rap song. So break out that karaoke machine and take your turn trying to be The Real Slim Shady.
2) Poppin’ a Squat
There comes a time in almost everyone’s life when they are presented with a very difficult choice—hold it until you’re in pain or use the disgusting Port-a-pot/John/loo/whatever-you-call-it. The smell, the unmentionables covering every surface, the lack of sanitizer to dunk your entire body into after usage . . . [shiver] It’s no surprise I’d rather hold it. However, when holding turns into a risk of an embarrassing accident, I go in and hold my breath while attempting to hover. It’s a difficult and scary endeavor. Thankfully, regular exercise has saved my bladder. As mentioned in the first point above, my ability to hold my breath is substantially better so I can suck it in without fear of passing out and falling into the pit. In addition, I have a better ability to hold my squat, regardless if it’s #1 or #2 calling, without touching any of the surfaces.
3) Load It Up
When I get home from a shopping trip, I have this overwhelming need to carry all the bags into the house in one trip. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this crazy personal shopping challenge (you know who you are). I’m not sure where this compulsion stems from, but it probably has something to do with proving I didn’t really buy that much if I can carry it all in one trip. It’s always been difficult and not without risk. There is usually that one bag that slips slowly down my arm until I’m holding on with nothing but a quivering pinky. But now my arms are solid. I just channel my ISO bicep curl hold and load up. Now all I have to worry about is not nicking the walls as I enter the house fully loaded . . .
4) Pigpen Pride
I went through this difficult hormone struggle a few years ago. One of my many challenges was heat intolerance. Basically, I couldn’t regulate my body temperature. I had to take my showers at night because if I did it in the morning my body temperature would be too elevated while getting ready for work. I’d sweat profusely just walking from my car to my desk. I couldn’t wear coats in the winter or I’d get so hot I’d get light-headed. I’d get so embarrassed whenever I was in a room full of people and felt the sweat run lines down my face and back—just because I was standing still. That particular issue has been resolved (yeah!), but I still sweat when working out. I usually look as though I’ve just finished the She’s a Dream dance from Flash Dance. The difference is now I wear it with pride. I’ve even gone to the store after a workout. How is this a benefit, you might ask? Less embarrassment = better self-confidence. If anyone turns their nose up to me I just smile and say, “You smell that? That’s the smell of my hard work.”
5) Go Ahead, Make My Day
Back in my college days at Purdue, one of my constant possessions was keychain mace. Most girls had them. I often had to walk home at night, sometimes through dimly lit streets, and the mace was a necessary safety precaution. I remember this one time . . . it was late, the street was dark, I was walking home with my finger on the mace trigger as usual. I wasn’t far from my apartment when suddenly I heard rapid footsteps coming toward me from behind. I spun around, mace raised. The poor guy about had a heart attack. He threw up his hands and pointed to my left, telling me he was sorry to scare me and he was going over there. I think he learned a valuable lesson that night—no matter how late you are, never EVER run up behind a girl at night. These days I don’t walk down many dark streets, but when I do I don’t feel the need for my old keychain mace. I’ve got a wicked back-fist. And if that fails, I can spin and finish with my powerful jab-cross.
I hope you have all benefited from these unsung benefits as well. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me some of yours!