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May 26 2016
by Sarah Nagy

8 Things That Happened When I Started Working Out Regularly

By Sarah Nagy - May 26 2016

Working out has impacted my life in a positive way. It lead to great things and it is great for your body. Starting with just a little regular exercise per week can change your life exponentially, for the better. Here's what I found it did for me:

1. It's much easier to get up in the mornings.

We are all familiar with the struggle of leaving your cloud-like bed in the mornings. After making exercise a routine, waking up is much easier to do. The grogginess subsides and you feel rather refreshed, instead of feeling like a semi truck just hit you. While the cup of joe is definitely preferred, I've found myself not needing it so desperately.

2. My cravings for junk food have been reduced, if not eliminated.

Chick fil A, Chipotle and random junk foods around the house used to be my go-to meals/snacks. They were easier to access, and obviously tasted so scrumptious. But, after sticking to healthier options for a few weeks, I don't crave the unhealthy foods anymore. The time and effort to prepare a healthy meal is much more worth it to me now, since I've taken the time to incorporate healthy eating and exercise into my life. The cravings are satisfyingly disappearing, and I'm finding myself snacking on a banana instead of a bowl of ice cream.

3. I've noticed an increase in energy throughout the day.

By the time 2 o'clock came around, yawning every ten minutes was normal. I used to feel lethargic by mid-afternoon, no matter how much coffee I had consumed or sleep that I had gotten. Exercising habitually boosted my overall energy and made it easier to stay awake, both mentally and physically. The desire for that espresso mid-afternoon has gone away, and instead I use the energy that exercise provides me.

4. My overall happiness has grown. 

I find myself happier more often and allow less things to bother me. Before, I could be ticked off by the slightest of things and now my tolerance has gotten much better. Exercise does release endorphins, which creates the feeling of happiness. There actually is such thing as a "runner's high." But running doesn't have to be the only exercise that releases those pleasuring hormones. Crankiness is reduced, and you might find yourself in an overall euphoric state of mind.

5. My body's physical appearance has improved.

While this is probably the most largely associated thing with exercise, it is still worth noting.  Putting forth the effort does indeed end in good, wanted results. I've found my muscles more toned and less flabby than before. When you're finally happy with what you see, it becomes hard to break the good habit of exercising (not that I would want to).

6. I am able to think clearer, and I feel like I have more brain power.

Sometimes brain farts are a major issue when it comes to tests, assignments and anything that involves deep thinking. I experienced them mostly early in the morning when I was totally off my game, but now I can take that 8 AM math exam with no problem. I feel ready to go, and early on I can take on some intense stuff. Exercise enhanced my ability to think quickly and abstractly.

7. I don't get tired out as easily.

Before, with a lack of exercise in my life I was easily winded by a single flight of stairs. It was pretty sad. You would be surprised how much regular aerobic exercise increases your capacity for strenuous activities. Leisurely biking will become a breeze, hiking will become a pastime instead of a rigorous challenge and that spontaneous sprint to catch up to someone won't be as breath-wrenching as before. My endurance has skyrocketed.

8. I became dedicated to fulfilling a healthy lifestyle.

Once you start, it's hard to stop. The positive results are so rewarding and all it takes is a little push from yourself, or maybe someone else. The motivation to continue to live a healthy life overrides the lazy desire to stay in bed all day or the junk food craving. The dedication begins once a routine is followed through and stuck to.

There are so many benefits to exercising on a regular basis. Whether it's walking for 20 minutes a day or doing some hardcore crossfit, the benefits will far outweigh the costs in the end. The motivation to get going is right within yourself. 

Lead Image Credit: Universal Pictures

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Sarah Nagy - University of Central Florida

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