Building mental toughness just as important as physical endurance

By Rich

Mental toughness is a key component of a complete person and builds a level of self confidence that is important to your overall level of fitness.

A person that has built up mental toughness is able to handle challenges and difficult life events that can and will occur at any time, usually when we are least expecting them to happen. 

Let’s discuss how difficult, but specific, physical training can help build your mental toughness as you build other parts of your body to handle the stress and strain of public and military service.

At first it may seem strange to say that physical activity can boost mental toughness, but it’s true, and you’ll what I mean as we flesh out this concept.

Doing something physically hard is also mentally hard at the same time. Our brain always acts as the protector of our bodies. So when we are performing a difficult physical task — say running 400 meters at 100 percent of our capacity — the brain wants us to slow down after a certain point as a protective measure. 

As we continue to build a better physical foundation to run 400 meters faster and faster, we rewire our brains to understand that we can run that fast and that far without damaging our bodies.

This, in turn, leads to an increase in mental toughness as you begin to understand your physical capabilities better. You will discover that mental toughness can help you power through other physical, social, professional and academic areas of your life.

What’s more, building mental toughness, like increasing your physicality and endurance, is an ongoing process. You’ll discover that the more you build, the easier it will be to face various adversaries, threat conditions, and challenges in your everyday life, whether at work or play.

And in the end, you’ll find that you can do things you never thought you could do, handle things you didn’t think you could handle, and at the same time become a leader and someone others want to follow — because mental toughness is also a confidence builder.

Now let’s go get some and get better together, what do you say?

Rich is a former U.S. Army infantryman and member of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The “Old Guard”) who responded to the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, as our nation was attacked by international terrorists. He is co-founder of Survival Legion, a vet-owned company that stresses functional fitness and draws it’s uniqueness from the Roman Legions.


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