When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and really pushed yourself to the limits? While this may sound a bit unnerving – and certainly tiring – taking on a personal challenge can be great for the mind, and the body. Even if you don’t manage to achieve your goal, setting out with a clear aim in mind could be all you need to discover more about yourself, learn new skills, and really see what you can do.
Into The Discomfort Zone
Credit: Jon Tyson
Why challenge yourself?
Challenging yourself can be seen as a natural progression of something you’ve probably been doing since childhood: risky play. As children, we’re encouraged to experience ‘risky play’; we learn and gain a sense of achievement through uncertainty and unpredictability, while still playing in a safe and familiar environment. Think about how children discover they can climb out of their crib, or whizz down a slide… it’s all risky play. As we get older, we choose not to put ourselves in these situations. Instead, we much prefer to play it safe – but staying within our safety bubble can prevent us from further developing our sense of self, and from understanding more of what we’re capable of, mentally and physically.
Of course, as adults we already know how to climb out of cribs and slide down slides, so challenging yourself is about finding new ways to enjoy risky play. For some people, this becomes a way of life. As British triathlete Alistair Brownlee says, ‘I’d rather have three or four cracking years of winning stuff than having 10 years of being average’. So why not challenge yourself to learn new talents?
Nonetheless, the most noticeable British fitness trend is concerned with the brain. Mindfulness is a hot topic in 2017, as people adopt a wide variety of exercises to improve their mental well-being, as well as their physical form.
Our approach to fitness is becoming more serious and more varied with every passing day. Try getting involved in some of the regimes listed above, and join the rest of the nation on its mission to achieve top condition.