The fact that exercise is beneficial for human beings is not really up for debate, but when you're first starting out on your workout journey, you may wonder if that first sweat session will do anything at all. Well, the good news is that your labor will not be in vain--in fact, from the moment you start working out, your body begins to respond in a myriad of ways that improve your health and enhance your overall well-being that very day. Below are five health improvements that you can expect to experience after just one workout.
1. Your mood will improve.
After you finish your first workout, you'll more than likely notice a significant boost in your mood. This is due to a couple different factors:
- First, the very act of exercising releases neurotransmitters in your brain known as endorphins, which play an important role in boosting mood and relieving pain and/or stress. These feel-good hormones trigger opiate receptors in your body, giving you a euphoric vibe due to their analgesic effect.
- Your boost in mood is also due to a sense of accomplishment and affirmation, especially after investing significant effort into your first sweat session.
2. You'll actually alter your DNA.
In recent years, researchers have discovered that adopting certain lifestyle choices--such as choosing to exercise on a regular basis--can actually alter the genetic material in your muscle cells, which in turn has an effect on your strength levels and metabolism rates. This phenomenon occurs the moment you begin your first workout, and it continues to adapt to your exercise habits as you go along.
3. Your concentration will improve.
When you say "hello" to exercise, you say "goodbye" to brain fog! Exercise boosts your circulation, which brings life-giving oxygen to your brain cells. This in turn improves your concentration, making you feel more alert, focused, and mentally sharp.
4. You'll sleep better.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercise is one of the best non-pharmaceutical ways to improve the quality of your sleep, and it starts happening as soon as you begin working out. It's not a complicated formula, either--the main reason why you're going to sleep better is because you'll be more tired at night!
Not only will you get better shut-eye from your physical activity, but research has also shown that you reduce your risk of developing certain sleep-related disorders such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.
5. You will reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
This point alone should be enough to keep everyone physically active. As soon as you begin working out, your body begins to alter the way it metabolizes fat, and your insulin sensitivity improves. Keep in mind that a low sensitivity to insulin (i.e., insulin resistance) is one of the main factors that can lead to the development of diabetes.
Experts recommend exercising at least two and a half hours per week in order to reap the full benefits of being physically active. This can be something as simple as brisk walking, or you can take it up a few notches by coming into the club for some resistance training, a few laps in the pool, or a game of tennis or basketball.
Whatever path you choose, keep in mind that the benefits of physical activity start kicking into gear as soon as you engage in your first workout. So don't get discouraged if you're not able to power through an intense workout right off the bat; just remember that doing something is always better than doing nothing. Take it one day at a time, be consistent, and you'll begin to experience a greater level of health and physical fitness!