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EXERCISE TIMELINE – WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU START WORKING OUT

EXERCISE TIMELINE – WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU START WORKING OUT

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Motivation can be like a fleeting shadow; one minute it’s there, then its gone. When you start exercising, knowing what to expect can help you stay driven.

Exercise timeline

Your Body’s Reaction While Exercising

The act of physical exercise will change your physiological state. Your body needs to adjust to the increased demand of energy. Over time, these physiological changes contribute to long-term health and well-being. Here’s some immediate reactions to expect:

Heart rate – increases to pump more blood into your muscles.

Breathing – increases to feed more oxygen into your cells.

Temperature – rises due to your body burning energy and increased heart rate.

Sweating – due to the rise in blood pressure and temperature.

Burning – a sensation from built-up lactic acid (caused by your body creating energy when it can’t get enough oxygen).

Alertness – increases from more blood and oxygen sent to the brain.

TIMELINE

Good news: there’s light at the end of the tunnel—and the beginning and middle. This list highlights some of the improvements with regular exercise:

Changes Within Days

  • Energy levels rise
  • Better moods
  • Breathing improves
  • Metabolism improves
  • Immune system improves
  • Brain function improves.

Be careful of increased appetite (eating too many calories will undo your hard work). And muscle aches and pains (do appropriate warm-up and cool-down exercises).

Changes Within Weeks

  • Better sleep
  • More confidence
  • Cells break down body fat instead of storing
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Reduced risk of depression
  • Skin, hair and nails will look healthier
  • Better endurance
  • New brain cells are formed
  • Improved blood pressure and circulation.

Be careful of sweat rash (there are creams and ointments to fix this) or your motivation wavering.

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Changes Within Months

  • Weight loss
  • Better coping with stress
  • Stronger heart
  • Better lung capacity
  • Muscle growth and definition
  • Stronger ligaments
  • Increased athletic power
  • Easier to stay committed.

Be careful of plateaus (see recommendations below).

Changes Within Years

  • Improved life expectancy
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Improved bone health
  • Look younger
  • Clear muscle definition
  • Better mental health/more peace of mind
  • Reduced risk of disease and cancer.

Note: your rate of success can be affected by other influences such as diet, tobacco, alcohol and drugs.

HOW TO OVERCOME HURDLES

Use Your Brain Like a Muscle

Work on your mindset. The more you do it, the stronger it gets. Having a strong mindset can help in all sorts of ways: it’ll nag you to workout instead of loafing, push you through the burn while you exercise, help you resist temptations. As you smash through your challenges, it’ll become your biggest cheerleader.

“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.” – William James

Soothe Aches and Pains

Exercising intensely effects your muscle tissue which causes stiffness and soreness. To avoid excess pain or possible injury, it’s important to stretch before and after your workout. It improves blood oxygen flow and lessens the stress in your muscles. A good night’s sleep (minimum 7 hours) gives your body sufficient time to rebuild torn muscle fibres.

Additionally, take a hot bath or shower. Heat therapy helps your muscles and joints relax. A massage can also untangle any knots. Most importantly, don’t overdo it. A rest day can help your body recover.

Amp up the Nutrition

Eating healthier increases your energy and metabolic rate. The more energy you have, the easier to stay motivated and the more effective your workout.

Food such as vegetables combat insulin resistance and help weight loss. Being slow to digest, it keeps you full for longer. Fibre stabilises the blood sugar and reduces cravings for junk food and alcohol.  It’s also good for the gut bacteria, which is said to influence our energy levels.

Calorie-wise, nutritious food has more value. It provides more vitamins than a big mac, and it won’t take you a week to work off a single snack!

 

Power Through Plateaus

After a period of exercising and weight loss, your body can slow its progress. This is due to many factors including muscle memory, nutrition and self-preservation. Your body adapts to your changes. As you lose weight your metabolism slows down. Eventually weight loss can stall, despite using methods that worked before.

But don’t despair! There’s plenty of ways you can break through plateaus.

Eat more vegies, protein and drink more water. Green tea is also suggested to help weight loss. Review your eating habits: switch to small regular snacks or try intermittent fasting. Adjust your overall calorie intake.

There are online tools that calculate your resting metabolic rate (also known as basal metabolic rate, BMR). This determines how many calories you burn while resting.

Keep your body guessing by varying your workout routines. Try new manoeuvres and make sure you’re always challenging yourself. Keep moving afterwards as activity stops your muscles from seizing.

Plan Then Plan Some More

It’s hard to reach your destination without setting a path. Having goals will keep you on track. As you face potential barriers, you can review what’s worked for you in the past, what needs to change etc.

Setting goals gives you a sense of progress and achievement.

What if you Stop Exercising?

Aside from possible changes to your mental state, there are physiological aspects too. You’re at risk of weight gain, losing muscle mass, metabolism slowing down, decrease of blood flow to your brain and oxygen to your cells. Long-term risks include weak immune system and microbiome, leaving you susceptible to disease.

Worth the Effort

As you can see, adding exercise to your weekly routine can be highly beneficial. Are there any particular gains you’ve noticed from exercise?



6 thoughts on “EXERCISE TIMELINE – WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU START WORKING OUT

  1. Great article. I would like to know some tips to use when my appetite increases. That is something I have struggled with in the past.

    1. Hi TaNiya, my main suggestion would be lots of water. You lose fluids during a workout and hunger signals can be confused with dehydration. You could also chew ice or gum, try vegetable smoothies or snack on something light in calories. We sometimes make hasty food choices when we’re hungry, so having portioned snacks organised beforehand can help.

  2. I really wish I had the motivation to exercise! I have never been much into fitness, but after having three kids and with age I have a few pounds I could spare to lose. I was always thin before and would just eat whatever and not work out. Working out is highly recommended by physicians and could really make your quality of life significantly improved. Maybe I will use your site to get me motivated 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading. I wasn’t big on fitness until I experienced the benefits first-hand, now I love it. For sure, working out makes a big difference in quality of life. I hope this site does help your motivation, come visit anytime!

  3. Found this very interesting with good ideas to help keep you going. Timelines useful . Seems like I have experienced all the hurdles mentioned in the past. Now there are strategies to assist. Good to realise that not alone – obviously hurdles are common to others as well.

    1. I’m glad you found it interesting, Jan. You’re certainly not alone, we all face these hurdles at some stage. But the benefits outweigh the challenges. I hope this will be helpful for you if/when you need it. Thanks for reading.

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