This past weekend, I was lucky enough to go to mbg's #revitalize2016 event, where I was surrounded by amazing people and wellness leaders, healthy food, and lots of cactuses.
As an introvert, conferences and big events used to completely overwhelm me. I would feel incredibly anxious and exhausted early on, which usually led to a dampened experience and the feeling that I wasn't being my true self.
Luckily, I've learned that getting some exercise in every day can help me get the most out of conferences and events like #revitalize2016 as well as regular life while still feeling like I'm being true to myself.
Here are 6 reasons why exercise is so important for introverts:
1. It levels out your energy.
I love HIIT workouts because they're the quickest, most efficient way to break a sweat in a short amount of time. #revitalize2016 was no different. Even though our days started early, I still got up to work out and made sure to stay active throughout the day as well (luckily this was made easy with options to hike, swim, and do yoga throughout the day).
Because even when you feel like you're just too tired to exercise and working out is the last thing you want to do, you'll most likely feel more energized after your workout than you did before. And higher energy levels equal better focus and less anxiety around people.
2. It provides some focused "me" time.
As an introvert, I need time to myself to recharge regularly.
In the past, I used to try to push through big events without giving myself any alone time, and as a result I would end up overtired and depleted early on. Now, I always make sure to make the time to work out as well as fit in a couple of solo walks throughout the day.
Although it may feel like you're missing out at times, I found that these exercise breaks made a huge difference in keeping my energy levels up through #revitalize2016. Ultimately, they allowed me to meet more people, learn more, and have more fun than I would have if I'd tried to skip them.
3. Exercise helps reduce stress.
Not only will working out ease stress and anxiety in the short term by helping you sweat out the day's worries, but regular exercise will help you become less stressed out in the long term as well.
That's because when you exercise, you're actually subjecting yourself to a low-level form of stress by raising your heart rate and triggering a burst of hormonal changes. When you subject yourself to the stress of exercise enough, your body will eventually get better at handling the rest of life's stressors, including big events.
This is especially important for us introverts, who are often more prone to anxiety than our outgoing friends.
4. It boosts your confidence.
Sometimes, the quieter nature of introverts can make us less confident, too. This can make being around large groups of outgoing, seemingly confident people intimidating — but regular exercise can help.
How? Because when you know that you've struggled — and succeeded — through a tough workout, mastered a cool new skill (handstands, anyone?), or conquered any sort of health- or fitness-related goal, that confidence spills over into other areas of your life as well.
5. It gets you out of your head.
While many extroverts prefer to talk through their problems and worries out loud with others, most introverts keep everything in their heads, often leading to stress, anxiety, and negative self-talk.
By focusing on getting that next rep or pushing through that last mile, exercise acts as a form of meditation, allowing your mind to quiet and stop worrying for even just a short time.
6. It makes you happier.
Exercise releases dopamine, a chemical in the brain that's necessary for feelings of pleasure and happiness. So run, jump, and play, and be happy!