Signs Your Fitness Level is Improving
Once you’ve gotten into a good groove with your new fitness routine and a few weeks/months go by, it’s normal to wonder if you’re seeing improvements or not. While changes in your physical appearance are the most apparent signs of progress, there are other ways to tell if your fitness level is improving. Take a look below to learn some of the telltale signs that your workouts are really putting in the work.
You Have More Energy
Initially, you might think increasing your workout time will drain your energy (and it certainly might feel that way at first), but it’s generally accepted that regular exercise does increase your energy levels over time. Of course, there’s some solid scientific evidence to help us understand why.
As explained by Harvard Health, exercise triggers the body to release more mitochondria inside your muscle cells. Mitochondria, which are affectionately referred to as the powerhouse of the cell, are tiny organelles that convert glucose and oxygen into energy for your body. Therefore, if you’re increasing the number of mitochondria present in your muscle cells, you’re likely increasing your body’s energy production capability.
Additionally, all that movement you do during exercise helps boost the circulation of blood and nutrients throughout your body. Not only will this help your mitochondria get more nutrients and produce more energy, but it also helps improve your body’s ability to use that energy more efficiently as you go about your day.
You’re Sleeping Better at Night
Better sleep quality can be a major sign that your exercise routine is helping to improve your health and wellness. There are tons of studies that suggest exercising regularly throughout the week can increase your slow-wave sleeve (a.k.a. deep sleep)—this is when your body and mind have a chance to relax and rejuvenate.
Furthermore, sleep and exercise studies have found that working out regularly can help you decompress your mind and control your mood better, which can help you naturally fall asleep faster when it’s time for bed. However, keep in mind that the timing of your workouts can affect whether exercise helps or hurts your sleep quality. Exercising too close to bedtime may make it more difficult to fall asleep, so keep this in mind when scheduling your workouts for the week.
You’re Making Fewer Modifications
Modifications are an excellent way to ease a beginner into more difficult exercises, and they’re often something you continue for a few weeks or months until you’re able to transition to the standard move.
For example, many people can’t perform push-ups from their toes at first, so they do a modified push-up with their knees on the ground. Modifications like these allow you to focus on the most important movements for a particular exercise without worrying about other things, such as balance or stability, so you can target the correct muscle group.
Over time, you can tell if your fitness level is improving by noting how often you need modifications compared to when you first started working out. For example, if you started doing push-ups on your knees and now can do them comfortably from your toes, you know your body is getting stronger.
This same idea also applies to using weights when exercising, such as dumbbells or medicine balls. If you used to only reach for smaller amounts of weight like 5 or 10 lbs., and now you’re going for the 15-20-lb. weights, then you know your physical fitness is improving.
You Feel Stronger Day by Day
If you’re finding daily activities less daunting after working out consistently for a few weeks, then it’s likely a sign that your physical fitness is improving. Over time, the functional movements you’re doing during exercise, like push-ups, squats, and lunges, are helping to make your usual movements easier throughout the day—so, it’s not as difficult for you to climb those flights of stairs to your apartment or you’re feeling less winded after running around with the kids. Feeling stronger and more capable in your daily life is a sign that your exercise routine is improving your fitness level.
You Manage Your Cravings Better
Studies have found that exercising regularly may help to reduce food cravings and may also help you make smarter decisions when it comes to fueling your body. Typically, people who are exercising regularly are less likely to reach for fatty or sugary foods, and instead, choose more nourishing options when it comes to their meals and snacks.
Additionally, exercise is thought to help improve appetite management, which allows you to control your daily intake of food more thoughtfully—which helps you get a better balance of both good-for-you foods and small treats from time to time without restricting or indulging too much.