For a lot of people, they start working out to lose weight. January the first comes up and people want to be fitter, tone up, and (for me at least) lose belly fat. I have said many times that I started running because I was jealous of my sister. That’s not the complete truth. I wanted to lose belly fat – I actually wanted to lose it quite badly. However constantly weighing myself and pinching the fat around my waist because very demoralising and mentally crippling very quickly.
Eventually my reasoning for working out moved and changed from weight loss to something else. Put very simply it made me happy. The post sweat endorphin high is amazing for both body and mind.
1. Less Stress
Busy, hectic lives are normal now. There are some days when I see my inbox and have my stress levels really shoot up. Exercise boosts your mood – there’s a reason people talk about that endorphin high – and helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression. There are some days when all I want to do is run. After, I always feel calmer and more able to handle whatever is thrown at me.
2. More friends
Fitness is very sociable. Long gone is that image of the runner, running mile after mile completely alone and isolated from the world. The fitness community worldwide is thriving and so welcoming. I have met some amazing people through run clubs and HIIT classes. Listening to other people’s stories had widened my horizons and goals so much.
Taking on a fitness challenge has improved my confidence and self esteem so much. I remember when I ran my first race, a 5 mile slog fest with a finish line in the Olympic Stadium. The feeling of crossing the finish line in that location was one of the best things ever. Every class I do, every finish line I cross add to my confidence levels. I can do anything and this feeling extends to more than just fitness.
4. It’s fun!
Oh it’s so much fun. Fitness isn’t boring. Wall climbing, aerial yoga, running in a different country – they are all new things I have tried because I love moving. It’s wonderful how easy it is to do something new, especially in a big city.
5. 8 hours of sleep
How many times have you heard someone say that 8 hours of sleep is what you should be having every night? Exercising in the morning or afternoon can help you feel more tired in the evening. During the summer and more hours of daylight I started running in the evening. While I still slept at night it always took me a little longer to settle from the runner’s high. It also really effected the next point…
6. Hello poo
I’m about to get very personal and very detailed right now. About poo. Constipation and I are old friends. Regular exercise really helps everything in my gut to move along and leave in a timely fashion. However when I started running in the evening I found my poo cycle (is that a thing?) to be really disrupted. So for me exercise and poo are definitely linked. Experiment with the times you get a sweat on and see how it effects your gut!
7. Lower your body age
Everyone has a birth age and a body age. The body age is the age your body is and is affected by many factors including exercise. Exercising regularly can really help improve your health and insides so significantly. It can reduce your risk of cardiac disease, type 2 diabetes, and cholesterol. Basically you want your insides to be like your skin – as young as a baby’s bottom.
8. Energy gains
It seems opposite counter intuitive doesn’t it? Exercising and moving more surely should mean you are tired more? And yes, after some sessions I am tucked up in bed at 9.30pm but throughout the day it feels as if I am full of beans. A sweat session is invigorating.= because human bodies are made to move. They are good at moving so when you let them, they reward you.
9. Increases performance
More oxygen travelling to the brain means more synapses firing. Not only is your body more energetic, but so it your brain. Some days after a morning run I feel as if I could tackle any problem that comes at me at work. My productivity levels are higher, I am more creative, and I am even in more control.
It seems too good to be true doesn’t it? But it really isn’t. The only thing I recommend, besides getting your sweat on of course, it not comparing yourself to other people. This is especially true if you are on social media. Comparison really is the thief of joy. Your body is completely unique and so is your journey. Celebrate your body and everything it can do without judging yourself against someone else whose job is in the fitness industry.
Have fun with fitness. It is amazing!