When I was around 12 I started playing ice-hockey in my towns hockey team, that lasted for about 4 years. Even when I wasn’t part of a team me and my friends used to get together and play on our neighbour hood football field which was covered with ice during the winters.
I have always been in pretty good shape and have gotten used to the benefits of exercise. There have always been periods of severe inactivity
But I always come back to some form of exercise and each time I “start again” I am stunned of the benefits and how it makes me feel.
What benefits have I noticed? Everyone is different so you might not have the same things, I hope my benefits encourage you to try it out, if you are not already doing it.
1. Emotional Balance
I have always been a person with lots of energy, hyper-active at times And when I have so much excessive energy and when something goes wrong, it all turns to frustration and the feeling is pretty overwhelming because it can lead to blaming myself for weird things.
When I started exercising my emotions slowly started becoming more balanced, because of a more healthy diet and exercising. There are some days when I feel a very weird energy build-up and it feels like I just have to do something.
When I exercise this feeling becomes neutralized, it gives me a way to get rid of that excess energy. This means I have more emotional control at the poker table.
I am slowly building my endurance, both physically and mentally. I can focus longer and think about situations with more clarity. I shouldn’t say that I can play longer poker sessions because that might be misleading.
I don’t recommend playing long sessions (more than 60 minutes at a time) because after a certain amount of time your ability to focus plummets.
What I can say is that my ability to focus while playing poker has become longer since I started exercising.
When you do something regularly you will naturally run into days where you just don’t feel like doing it. This is how you build discipline, by doing things that you do not always want to do.
And I am not saying that you should do something you hate, if you hate exercising all you have to do is re-frame it. Ask yourself why you hate exercising?
Is it because it is laborious? Are you focusing on the tiresome aspects of exercising? I will bet you that this is the case if you think exercising sucks.
What would happen if you thought about how good you would feel, how you would look and how this might improve your whole life? Wouldn’t you feel a bit better focusing on that instead?
So when you feel like just watching some TV and eating a cookie or two, think about how good you would feel after your workout and how GOOD you would feel after a year of working out regularly and then get off your ass and exercise! That is discipline.
The more I exercise the bigger my discipline muscle gets, I can get myself to play poker on a consistent basis even when I do not feel like it. Sometimes though, you have to realize when it is time to take longer breaks from poker to avoid burn-out.
My self-confidence always goes up when I’ve been exercising a while. Partly because my body is in shape and because I am in shape mentally. So many psychological benefits come from working out regularly.
Self-confidence also helps me assess poker games better and helps me to gather the confidence in taking shots at higher stakes in a calculated manner.
These are the main four things I have experienced while exercising, all I can say is that I feel great and it works for me otherwise I would slowly go insane and tilt all my money away
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