Written by: Francheska Martinez. Francheska is a movement and functional training coach in Austin, Texas. She hosts bodyweight and kettlebell training workshops throughout the United States, focusing on fundamentals and technique. She also teaches online to connect with movers of all levels around the world. Find Francheska on Instagram: @francheskafit.
There are so many cliches about getting out of your comfort zone.
No pain, no gain.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn't change you.
And the list goes one. These simple sayings are essentially a universal truth that holds so much value: leave your comfort zone!
Here are a few ways that frequently pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone can benefit our growth, personal and physical development, longevity, and happiness.
1. Age Gracefully
When many of us think of aging, we may associate it with decline and withered bodies. What if we were able to remain youthful as we age, and continue to make adaptations to promote better health and function?
If we think of being active and constantly stimulating/challenging our brains and bodies as something that’s inherently human, we can make lifestyle changes that will help us regularly get out of our comfort zone to stay sharp as we age.
2. Change Your Brain
Neuroplasticity. When we learn something new, we create new neural connections and brain pathways that allow us to become more adaptable mentally. Essentially, if we constantly are learning new things, we are making functional and physical changes to our brains.
Improving the plasticity of our brains, or adaptability, also enhances our existing cognitive functions and general brain fitness. Recent studies on neuroplasticity show that even old dogs can learn new tricks.
The foundation of aging gracefully and preventing lifestyle-related illnesses lies outside of your comfort zone. This applies to both our brains and bodies. So go learn something new!
3. Physical Adaptations
The human body is designed to be agile, strong, stable, flexible, and adaptable; as modern humans, many of us live sedentary lives that don’t challenge us physically, dulling our natural athleticism and capabilities. Thinking of the body as a blade that continuously needs to be tended to and sharpened is a great analogy for thinking of physical challenges as something that will make us stronger overall.
For example, if we don’t utilize weight bearing exercises or movements in our regular lives, our bones start to become weak and brittle. Regularly bearing weight on our skeletal system is how we strengthen our bones over time.
Challenging ourselves both physically and mentally with new movement systems and training techniques is a great way to regularly push ourselves out of our comfort zones, where learning new skills, moves, and concepts is essential.
Don’t be afraid of looking like a noob and trying something brand new.
If you’re looking to get out of your comfort zone both physically and mentally, give boxing, kettlebell workouts, or ANIMAL FLOW a try! All of these workout styles have their own respective skill sets and challenges that keep me on my toes, and always coming back for more. Check out my Instagram for ideas on where to start implement these systems.
Another way that pushing ourselves out of comfort zones helps us physically is by bringing more awareness to our weakness, and providing avenues to strengthen these weaknesses so that we become more well rounded individuals.
4. Become More Confident
Overcoming novel challenges and succeeding in new areas helps us sharpen our personal development skills by helping us become more confident, gaining insight into our strengths and deficiencies, and allowing us to gain new perspectives about ourselves and life.
Fully embracing the idea of being a life-long student is an easy way to welcome in experiences that can teach us valuable life lessons, as well as experiences that are conducive to growth. What’s beautiful about approaching life as a student, is that even our perceived failures can offer us a new lesson or insight.
Life lessons can apply to many facets of life, this is why allowing ourselves to be immersed in an uncomfortable environment is conducive to personal growth. The more time we spend out of our comfort zone, the more we learn. It’s really as simple as that.
5. Be Happier
Stirring up the usual routine, and pushing ourselves to try new things is an easy way to add a spark of joy into our life. Whether it be the enjoyment of a new experience, or the opportunity to make a new friend, getting out of our comfort zones can enrich our lives in a plethora of ways.
Enjoying life to the fullest just requires us to continuously push the boundaries of their comfort zones to grow, adapt, age gracefully, and find joy in everyday life.