A recent conversation with a client was the most fun I’ve had at work in quite a while.
She had set a goal of exercising three to four times week, and this was a point of struggle for her because she had a busy job, a long commute, and was tired when she got home. But, she had enjoyed success by changing her nutrition habits and knew she needed to add in exercise to see it continue and to further protect herself from heart disease. So, off she went.
A couple of weeks later, she was hitting her goal like a pro. I asked her what the trigger was that got her from the couch and up doing an exercise DVD. Her answer was so simple and so awesome: I just love how I feel.
Yes! But there was more. She went on to tell me that even when she had a long day at work and was really tired, she exercised because she knew she would feel better right away.
I wanted to clarify this point and make sure I understood exactly what she was saying, so I asked her to confirm what I heard: the results from exercising were immediate, positive, and attainable. Yes, she said. They were.
I was floored. This was fantastic news! Just a few weeks prior, she had been frustrated that her progress had stalled, and she was at a crossroads for what to do. She was confused, because she was still working hard but her body wasn’t changing as much as it was before. She sighed and confessed, “I know, I want instant results. I need to give it time.”
But now she was positively giddy, telling me that exercising made her feel so good right away that she was looking forward to her workouts after a long day at work. It was not possible to have a bigger smile on her face.
The New Year is a month old, and if you began a new health and fitness program on Jan. 1 (OK, if we’re being honest, Jan. 3) you may have already stepped on the scale a few times to see whether your hard work is paying off. And for some of us, they are elusive. The scale might not be budging, your clothes might still be a little more snug than you’d hoped, and you may be wondering what the point is if nothing is going to change.
Stick with it. Those changes you can see in the mirror and feel in your belt are coming. But the impact of healthy living is more instant than we are led to believe. Chief among those is the immediate benefit of feeling great, which my client was enjoying every single day. But there is important work being done on the inside of your body, too. Stuff you can’t see. But check out these instant results from daily exercise and healthy eating.
Worried about diabetes? Exercise reduces insulin levels in your blood and improves your insulin sensitivity. That means you and your brain are better able to partner up to notice when you are full and don’t need to keep eating.
Feeling stuck on a project at work? Exercise helps with neurogenesis, which is the creation of new brain cells. A walk and some fresh air can lead to more clarity of thought, productivity, and energy to work.
Exercise is proven to boost our mood to the point where we can alleviate symptoms of clinical depression. Just thirty minutes a few times a week can make a difference. But don’t just stroll around. Work up a good sweat and get your heart and lungs pumping! Get your money’s worth!
Feeling a little low on self-confidence? Battling anxiety? Go and do a strength-training workout or join an exercise class. Exercise can boost self-esteem and improve body image, making your feel like a million bucks. And when you feel good, you look good. More instant benefits! Could this get any better? You betcha.
Not only does exercise immediately make you feel amazing, raise your intellect, and make it easier to eat healthily, it burns calories, which leads to weight loss. Yes! You can even lose weight, on top of feeling great whenever you want to. Oh, and exercise also lowers your blood pressure, enhances sleep quality, reduces cholesterol…should I go on?
My client and I were laughing and cheering over the phone as we marveled in her discovery. Happiness, relaxation, lower stress…it was all attainable within minutes and completely in her control. In fact, the two things that were guaranteed to bring her a lifetime of happiness were two things she had complete control over: what she ate and whether or not she exercised. Instant gratification was sitting right next to her this whole time.
It’s sitting next to you, too. You can join her and feel amazing today. Right now! I hope you will, and that your smile will not be able to get bigger. You deserve to feel great. What are you waiting for?
About This Blog
Each week, I write the "Healthy Heather Blog" in the Tallahassee Democrat. It is republished here in case you are not a subscriber (what???). Sometimes it is really good and other times it is just okay. Thanks for reading it regardless of your opinion!