Since starting this blog and pursuing a healthier and balanced lifestyle, as well as eating well and nourishing my body exercise has also been a part of this journey.  From doing very little, then over exercising and then taking a more relaxed approach to fitness one thing has always remained the same: how much I love to workout.  

Boston-Running-Routes

Whether I’m doing yoga; off out for a run; in the gym on the cardio machines; lifting weights or just dancing to music whilst I’m doing the house chores I just love being able to move.  This is something that I’ve really been able to appreciate more during pregnancy where my exercise has been minimised and stripped back to basics.  I’m really looking forward to getting back to my regular workouts and fitness levels when I’m physically and medically able to post-birth, but the past 9 months has demonstrated to me that there is more than just the fitness aspect to exercise.  I often feel that there is an emotional connection to my workouts as I always feel better afterwards.  Exercising for me has always been about the psychological advantages and the health benefits are just a fantastic bonus.  

I’ve listed some of the psychological and non-fitness related benefits of exercise for me below:

Gives a sense of routine

After a long duration where I haven’t been able to workout because of a holiday or illness, I relish in the fact that I can get back to the gym.  I like to think of myself as organised and I’m very much about having a routine, although I’m sure this will go out the window when my little one gets here.  I like to start my day with some kind of exercise in the morning to get it out-of-the-way and my routine has been like this over the past few years.  I do miss exercising on the days that I have scheduled a workout in because I feel a little out of sorts that my routine has been disrupted and my day hasn’t started off right. Even though I acknowledge the benefits of resting from working out when needed I still love getting back to my usual routine.  This is something that I’m definitely going to have to sort out in my head and work on when my little Mister arrives. 

Therapeutic benefits 

Except for when I attend fitness classes I always like to exercise alone and not with a friend. Not only do I find that I’m more productive during a workout, but I like having the time to myself with my own thoughts.  It may sound anti-social, but it allows me to unwind and de-stress without being distracted.  I also feel ready to tackle my day head on after a morning workout because I’ve had the time to de-clutter my brain and feel more ready for the day.

Feeling great after a workout

There is nothing like that post-workout high due to the bodies natural happy pill serotonin being released during exercise.  On days when I don’t feel like working out or if I’m feeling lazy I always try to give myself a kick up the butt and get moving because I know how great I’ll feel afterwards.  Serotonin works with a group of endorphins released in the brain to promote a general feeling of happiness and makes your workout more pleasurable. 

A better night’s sleep

On days where I do fit in a workout, I find that I get a more restful night’s sleep compared to when I don’t workout.  I think this may be due to using up any excess energy that I may be harbouring. It also means that I’m more likely to go to bed early due to tiredness instead of staying up late so I get a good 8 hours in and feel great the next day. 

So there are some of my non-fitness related benefits of working out.  I love that we can get so much more from exercise other than the obvious health benefits as it gives me even more of an incentive to workout, especially on a cold and miserable day.  

Do you believe that there is more to exercise than just the health benefits? How do you feel after a workout?  Other than being healthy, why is exercise important to you?