Outstanding article by Brad Stulberg of Outside Magazine, published in the NY Times. So much of the value of exercise is not physiologic; it’s emotional, intellectual, psychological. The toughness you develop by pushing yourself through one barrier on to the next will, without doubt, one day prove useful in a context that does not require any of the physical tools you’ve developed along the way. Barry F. Power, my sensei at the Missouri Karate Association, talks about this all the time to kids training in the dojo; that training hard and training in front of the group will give them the confidence to be self-assured in many social and work situations.

It’s an important concept to pass along to kids and to adults who are still struggling with their own confidence in different situations. You can do this. You will do this. Every day, pick a new small goal to achieve and put in your rear view mirror. It’s the surest path to incrementally building confidence and emotional and mental toughness. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

What’s remarkable and encouraging about these studies is that the subjects weren’t exercising at heroic intensities or volumes. They were simply doing something that was physically challenging for them – going from no exercise to some exercise; one need not be an elite athlete or fitness nerd to reap the bulletproofing benefits of exercise.

How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym