February 11, 2021
It feels like the answer should be no, but yes, exercise can be awesome and fun. However, it usually doesn’t start out that way.
Whether you’re a new runner, swimmer or weightlifter, there’s no doubt that creating workout habits are uncomfortable at first. I can still hear my high school gym teacher yelling “No pain, no gain!” as we ran around the football field. Easy to say when you’re sitting on a lawn chair, sipping coffee.
But, he was right.
The cells in our bodies need oxygen to convert sugar into Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – our bodies’ main source of energy. When we exercise, our muscles signal our heart and lungs that they need oxygen to create more energy. As a response, we start breathing harder and faster to increase oxygen intake. This is how our bodies generate energy using oxygen, or aerobically.
However, when you’re lifting weights or performing other strenuous physical activity, your cardiovascular system doesn’t deliver enough oxygen to your muscles, so they generate energy anaerobically, or without oxygen.
This energy comes from glucose through a process called glycolysis. When our muscles’ oxygen supply is low, our bodies temporarily create a substance called lactate, which helps glucose breakdown to produce energy.
When you “feel the burn”, what you’re feeling is the buildup of excess lactate or lactic acid. However you say it, it still burns.
Ah yes, the kind of sore that makes lowering yourself onto the couch a multiple-stage event.
Regardless of your fitness level, muscle soreness for a few days after exercising can affect anyone. Known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), it usually happens when your muscles work harder than they’re used to, or in a different way.
Muscle soreness is actually a side-effect of muscle repair, and rebuilding muscle tissue helps muscles grow. While DOMS isn’t particularly dangerous, the temporary pain and stiffness can be off-putting for people who are new to exercise. The good news is, the soreness will go away as your muscles get used to their new demands.
The best way to relieve muscle soreness is to do some light exercises, like walking or stretching. A heating pad or hot bath may also help, but ice is the best treatment because it helps to decrease swelling and inflammation.
There’s no doubt that exercise is good for you. It lowers the risk of heart disease, decreases the chances of osteoporosis, and prevents weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Plus, exercise helps you sleep better, improves muscle tone and cardiovascular function, and releases endorphins – chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and pain that create a temporary but powerful sense of well-being that helps with anxiety and depression.
Once your body becomes used to working out, exercise can feel great, and even be fun. So, don’t give up! Build exercise into your life as a habit, and you’ll actually look forward to working out.
Here are three ways to kick start your fun fitness routine:
Studies show that listening to music while you exercise has positive physical and psychological effects. It doesn’t just relieve boredom, music can also help improve the quality of your workout by putting you in a better mood, and as a consequence, increasing your stamina because you’re happy to be there.
It’s been discovered that exercising outdoors acts as a natural antidepressant. Sunshine increases our brain’s production of the mood-altering hormone, serotonin, and being outdoors can help ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression, and anxiety.
Researchers found out that people are way more likely to exercise and complete a workout program if they have a partner to do it with. An exercise support system offers many benefits, including, camaraderie, accountability, cooperation, and maybe some friendly competition.