Being strong is an AMAZING feeling. To be able to lift weights over your head, carry them on your back, and pull yourself up with your upper body is impressive to say the least. Every week you focus on being stronger than the week before, and push yourself past your limits to achieve that.

You often find yourself picking up a heavier weight than you’ve ever lifted before, and you give it a good try. Even if you fail, you still push yourself more than you did last week and get one step closer to picking that weight up with ease. And one day, you will.

With time and practice, this same mindset translates over to the rest of your life as well. You learn to try things you’re not sure you can accomplish, but without the fear of failing holding you back.

Failure shouldn’t be a scary thing; in fact, it should be encouraged. I’ve learned so many new things just by taking a chance and not worrying about the outcome, by letting go of this fear factor and pushing myself to new heights. Both in and out of the gym, I have done more than I ever thought possible and have improved in multiple aspects of my life because of it.

But if I do happen to fail, or things don’t work out as I thought they would, I don’t shut down, overcome with defeat. Instead, I’ve learned that it’s okay when failure happens. I just pick myself back up and try again, or try something else new– just like when I’m in the gym with those weights.

The stronger I get, the more weight I can lift. In lifting, I have to be able to deal with failure, yes, but also push past it and be resilient. This is just like gaining emotional strength. I need to get over my fears and trust that my body will help me to overcome stressful situations.

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It was much easier mentally for my dad to get up this mountain when the physical strength was there (check out those guns!)

Mind and body are intertwined. It’s a fact of life; once my body began to get stronger, so did my mind. When my body got stronger, I started to trust it. I trusted that it would do what I needed on its own, so that I could focus on the real task at hand such as nailing that big interview or convincing my professor to give me those 2 extra points.

In case you need proof, one study conducted with regular runners and active controls found that the runners had a higher threshold for extreme cold. What was interesting was that their heart rate and blood pressure responses weren’t any different, proving that the runners had learned to adapt to experiencing more physical pain and pushing through. This is the resilience I’m talking about: the resilience that then translates to other aspects of their life.

Having physical strength will teach you to push your limits, set goals you never thought would be attainable, and then actually achieve them. So if you haven’t considered lifting already, I’m here to tell you: I tried it, and the benefits just keep on coming. 

 

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About The Author

Jenna Bernard is a current Cornell student studying nutrition and exercise science. She loves all things fitness including running, lifting, swimming, crossfit, high intensity interval training, and jumping on the bed. When she's not cooking or lifting, Jenna enjoys making things for friends and family and taking advantage of the outdoors, hiking in particular. She's looking forward to spreading the joys of fitness!

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