Why Working Out Makes Me Happy

I've struggled to find happiness before. More accurately, I've struggled to find something that brings me happiness that isn't my family or significant other. Sometimes I fall into the trap of not having a hobby. Hobbies can bring you joy, provide you with an escape from life and connect with you other people who are similar to you.

Dance was always my hobby growing up. I could spend time with friends, get in a good workout and perform in front of people - all things I loved. But, after I graduated high school, my days of dancing were over. I knew I wouldn't have time to dance in college for a professional team and I didn't want to pursue dance as a career. So, what was I to do to fill that void?

I began working out. I turned the gym into my happy place and found my new hobby.

Working out and fitness aren't everyone's' favorite things in the world - probably because it takes a lot of work, makes you sweat and can be extremely frustrating. Trust me, I know. I used to hate gym class in school because of merely the mile run. I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of my classmates because I couldn't run a mile faster than maybe 9 minutes (I know this isn't the worst time, but, for a "fit" dancer this was a slow time).

Now, I enjoy going to the gym. As crazy as this may sound, the gym is just like a treat for me because it means I have enough time to ignore everything else in my life at the moment. Over the summer, I began doing Crossfit at a local box. I loved lifting weights with this new community of fitness-lovers - everyone at a different level with no judgment. This is what I strive for at school: a place of comfort and community. I found the community aspect in CHAARG, but I found a sense of happiness in myself just existing at the gym.

I know working out positively impacts my mood because of a few things.

1. I'm crabby if I don't work out.
2. I can't concentrate without working out.
3. I feel less confident if I don't work out.

After I put at least an hour in the gym, I usually feel refreshed and centered. With my journalism and communication majors, I'm constantly in front of a screen - writing, taking photos or reading. When I'm at the gym, I'm practically forced to look at nothing OR look at myself which is even better. I can see my progress, see where I need improvement and focus on one thing - not 10.

Above all, I've found a new happiness and confidence in becoming more fit and healthy. Fitness has transformed my look on the world - understanding what I put in my body, realizing what I do to my body and knowing when to leave my body be. You can learn so many lessons from pushing your body to new limits. If anything, I am more in-tune with myself since finding this new hobby.

If you're struggling to accept yourself, find confidence in fitness. If you don't have a hobby, find fun in a fitness community. If you simply need happiness, find joy in self-improvement. Happiness comes from within, which is why I work out.

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