It’s about more than just what we see in the mirror, here are 10 signs your routine is working
1. You Miss and Look Forward To Exercise
One of the tell-tale signs that your fitness routine is working is when you look forward to the next sesh, or long for it when you’ve missed one. Even if it’s something small like not doing a stretch, you crave that movement and ritual of release. Sometimes even just sitting at your desk or in front of the TV makes you want to work out or incorporate some sort of movement to avoid stiffness or your mood tanking.
2. Your Endurance Is Improving
Compared to the beginning of your fitness journey where a short workout, jog or cycle had you gasping for air and dripping in sweat, you no longer feel as though you will pass out in the next few seconds. Over time your body becomes used to the challenges you set for it, and strengthens itself; adapt to survive. Consistent aerobic exercises strengthen your heart muscle to spout more oxygen-rich blood through your body, and you’ll notice you’re going for double the reps, heavier weights and longer workout sessions.
3. Your Body Is Better Aligned And More Fluid
Form is everything. If your spine and joints are not in the proper positions, you might feel imbalanced; like the terrible, weird feeling you have when you twist your back too far to one side. Workouts such as Pilates, yoga or Barre help strengthen and stretch your body, improving its range of motion too. If you are avoiding a hunched back, rounded shoulders and aren’t feeling that stiffness in your hip plexus, you’re doing great.
4. You’re Energetic And Happier
We know that workouts can make us tired, but will leave us feeling energised and awake for some time after too. Remember those little things called mitochondria aka ‘the powerhouses of the cell’ we learned about in school? Turns out, the more exercise you do, the more mitochondria you’ll have, meaning lower stress-hormone levels and increased blood circulation. A great workout also pumps endorphins, and over time you’ll find your mood lifting, your functionality increasing, and you’ll have better sleeping patterns and habits.
5. Your Body Is Stronger And More Versatile
The only weight that matters here is the weight of the dumb-bell you’re lifting or kettlebell you’re swinging. You don’t have to necessarily go heavier every time you have a session – it’s sometimes better to go lighter on ‘tired’ days – but you’ll incrementally increase your strength. And with your new-found strength, comes a new-found power to use it in everyday situations. You might be able to carry all your grocery bags in one go from the car, lift the sofa to clean underneath, or carry your children for longer without feeling tired.
6. You Won’t Dread Seeing Those Lab Markers
If you started a fitness routine because your doctor told you to lose weight for whatever health reason, this one is for you. Overall exercise is good for improving heart health, and often you might find those health markers changing before your physical markers do. Consistent exercise can reduce the top and bottom numbers of blood pressure, reduce levels of LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) and boost HDL (‘good’ cholesterol), and cuts the risk of type 2 diabetes.
7. You Leave The Junk For Another Time
Healthy eating habits and healthy workout routines make the perfect pair. Staying dedicated to a healthier diet that eliminates refined food as far as possible will have you feeling healthier – and you won’t experience those insatiable cravings for sugary foods. Taking the time to plan meals and workouts, seeing food as fuel filled with vitamins and minerals are some ways that a fitness routine might improve your relationship with food too.
8. Relationships Improve
In doing anything that is self-improving, we gain a lot more confidence and want to share it with those around us. You may even try to include your family or friends in your fitness routine – or even make new friends along your journey as well. The stress relief that comes from the simple act of making time for yourself to do a 20 to 30-minute workout and keeping up with your routine will have a positive impact on you and, in turn, your relationships.
9. You’re Doing Things You Love
Think about that one hobby you used to enjoy but just couldn’t find the time for. Was it painting, pottery, photography, horse riding? A successful fitness routine helps us set goals for ourselves, and come up with ways to keep ourselves motivated and happy. Change starts small, and as a routine follows through, you will find you’d like to revisit these other interests you once abandoned, or find new ones.
10. You Finally Understand Your Body
Of all the benefits of following a fitness routine, the biggest one is that you become more understanding of your body and its needs. Maybe you’re taking some supplements, doing a few stress-relieving activities, getting more sleep, limiting screen time, or practising affirmations. Whatever it is that your body needs, how you feel after doing certain activities or eating different foods, you know your body better than anyone else.
Words by Saadiqah Schroeder