New to the big, bad world of working out? It may feel intimidating at first, but getting active doesn’t have to be difficult. Of course, when you first start out, you may not fully understand what side effects this type of physical regimen can yield. So, here are some of the unexpected things that can happen when you begin to exercise.
1. You may have more energy
If your energy levels are always a little low, you may find that exercising on a regular basis helps to solve that issue. While it may well feel counterproductive, hitting the gym when you feel tired could give you a boost.
Surprisingly enough, scientific research suggests that exercise and activity could be the ideal cure for ongoing fatigue. Routine exercise has been shown to increase energy-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin (which enhance your mood too!).
2. Your body might ache at first
Is it your first time working out? If so, you may be in for a shock. You’re about to put your body through something it’s not experienced in a long time. After you’ve completed your routine, you may find that your muscles ache and you experience other pains too. Usually, the onset of these side effects happens a day or two after you exercise.
So, what should you do? Well, planning ahead is the first place to start. Before any exercise routine, warm up with dynamic stretches like jump squats, lunges, or a brisk walk. What you do next to prevent post-workout discomfort depends entirely on what activity you engage in.
For instance, running tends to put a level of strain on your feet and knees. If you already suffer from common conditions like plantar fasciitis or heel spurs, use orthotic aids like heel cup inserts to absorb pressure on heels and arches of your feet; and tailor your workout routine to avoid exacerbating any existing strain you may already have.
3. You will sleep better than ever
Getting a quality night’s sleep could not be more difficult in this day and age. Everything from your smartphone use to late-night TV binges affects how you sleep. If you find it hard to drop off each night, increasing the amount of exercise you do could be a solution.
Advice from the National Sleep Foundation, suggests that people who are active for at least 150 minutes per week get substantially better sleep than other people. Other effects include feeling less tired during the day and generally having a better body clock.
4. It could improve your mental health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. When you care for yourself, you should consider both of these things. Major Depressive Disorder (MOD) affects more than 16 million people in the US. There are many possible ways to combat this health problem, but exercising could be the most impactful.
Last year, in a landmark study by Black Dog Institute, the researchers found that as little as just one hour of exercise per week was enough to lower risk for depression. What’s more, breaking a sweat was found to help lift mood and boost feelings of positivity. The reason is that exercising makes your brain release chemicals called endorphins, which help reduce pain and stress.
5. You could create a new social circle
Of course, one of the greatest side effects of hitting the gym or going to a new activity class is making new friends. Being active should open up an entirely new social circle, which means that you will end up feeling more popular than ever.
Since the people you meet while working out will be outside your regular peer group, you’re likely to find that they open up new avenues and change the way you socialize. You may even find that you meet a new best friend or even your soulmate. Bonus!