Well, it’s almost February. How many of you are sticking with your goals for 2013? I hope you are! I’m guessing many of you have hit the gym with high hopes of toning up or dropping a few pounds. Maybe you’ve noticed that there have been other changes as well. Regular exercise has many benefits, some of which happen sooner than others. Here’s a quick rundown:
1) Increased energy. I know this seems counterproductive, but it rings true for many people. Ever notice that when you exercise and then don’t for awhile, you get sluggish and feel like you don’t have any energy, much less for a workout? Regular exercise can make you more alert and energetic, helping you with daily tasks as well as fitness goals. This is one of the first changes my clients notice when they start a regular exercise program. Fight that tiredness and keep up your workouts, you know you will feel better afterwards.
2) Better sleep. Yep, that’s right. Your body shuts down more efficiently when it’s time for bed. People tend to sleep sounder and get a higher quality of sleep with regular exercise.
3) Stress reduction. People deal with stress in many different ways. It can be comfort foods (not advisable on a regular basis if you are watching your waist line), general venting to a friend or family member, while some use happy hour (another waist line killer). Exercise provides an outlet for stress that is healthy for you, whether it’s a kickboxing session or a long hike after work. Those endorphins kick in and people tend to feel less stressed after a sweat session. It’s kind of the same effect as with increased energy, with an added bonus result.
4) Better eating. This might just be me and people I know, but I’ve personally noticed that my body craves better food when I hit the gym regularly. The opposite is true as well; if I have to take some time off due to an illness or a funky schedule, my cravings change to not so great foods. Exercise and healthy eating have a positive relationship, one is better with the other.
5) Increased metabolism. When you do strength training and work those muscles, you are creating a larger fat burning production in your body. I won’t bore you with the details (it happens at a cellular level) but I can tell you that the more muscle you have, the more efficient your metabolism. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to have this effect; regular strength training does the trick.
Regular exercise is simply awesome for your body, in whatever form is right for you. If you happen to reach your fitness goals along the way, it’s a huge bonus. So get out there and stick to your routine…you’ll sleep better for it!