Why do some workouts leave us feeling better or worse than when we started? It turns out that there are some signs of a good workout that go beyond what’s reflected on our smartwatches, how sweaty we get, and how sore we feel. Keep reading to learn more about what constitutes a rewarding exercise session and the signs of a good workout. And always keep in mind — showing up is better than not showing up at all!
Signs Of A Good Workout
1. Exercises Start To Feel Easier
If you were phoning in your dumbbell reps months ago and now you can finish them, that’s a good sign. It’s also worth noting that if you’re reaching for the 5-pound weights instead of your usual 2-pounders, you’re building both strength and endurance.
2. You Skip the Modifications
Workout modifications are there to help us prevent injury and overextending ourselves. After all, sometimes we have to work our way up! If you started a workout routine that relied heavily on modifications and those are now a thing of the past — congrats! You may even find yourself working into advanced movements, like going for deeper squats, adding a jump to cardio moves, or even opting for heavier ankle weights.
3. Your Coordination Is Improving
It’s totally natural to feel out of place when you’re starting a new workout, especially if it involves complex or fast-paced cardio. But when you’re starting to master the steps and can easily switch from your left to right, it helps both your workout quality and your confidence! If you’re looking to improve your coordination, be sure and check out Pound classes and Barre — both of those classes lean heavily into the importance of maintaining good coordination.
4. You Feel Amazing
It’s not just about physical gains — working out boosts our endorphins! Even if you don’t break your record or your smartphone tells you that you didn’t burn as many calories, don’t fret. If you’re ending a workout and you feel proud of the work you’ve done for yourself, that’s enough.
5. You Slept More Soundly
As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as walking or cycling, can dramatically improve the quality of your nighttime sleep, especially when done on a regular basis. Schedule your workout for the early evening instead of staring at your computer — you’ll begin to notice deeper, more sound sleep.
6. Your Form Is Better
An improved form can make all of the difference in the world. For one, you’ll be more confident in a class setting because you’ll be focused on the exercise itself. You’ll also start to notice that you may not be as sore post-workout as you used to be, especially in your lower back or neck. It’s also an indicator that you’re in better control of your body and which muscles it’s utilizing.
7. You Worked Out Longer Than Usual
People don’t beat their records by skipping workouts or working out inconsistently! As you being to gain fitness and endurance, you’ll notice that it may take you longer to fatigue. This could mean running for 15 minutes instead of your usual ten or even increasing your sets and reps for strength workouts.
8. You’re Less Fatigued
As you continue a regular workout routine, you’ll begin to notice that workouts will increase your energy levels, not deplete them. With that being said, you’ll probably feel like you’re dragging a bit if you skip a few days or a week.
9. You Helped To Manage A Physical Condition
Engaging in physical activity helps manage health issues. Even if you didn’t break a record or a specific goal that was set, this movement will add up over time. For example, working out leads to improvements in cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of coronary artery disease.
10. You’re More Emotionally Balanced
Whether you’re feeling frustrated at work, dealing with something rough in your personal life, or just having trouble navigating this year (who isn’t?!), throwing yourself into a workout and making every second count can make a huge difference.
What Doesn’t Necessarily Equal A Successful Workout
Sure, you probably worked your butt off if you’re leaving the studio drenched in sweat. But you’ll also want to consider the temperature, what you were wearing, and even how hydrated you are.
It’s a similar situation with soreness. Being sore will indicate that you’ve worked your muscles, but it could also be masking signs of a developing injury. It’s also unpleasant enough to cause you to skip workouts, so be careful!
In other words, you can be sweaty and sore from a good workout. But don’t measure a good workout by whether or not they occur!
Related Article: There is significant research to attest to the importance of strength training for women over 50 — improved bone density and resistance to injuries, boosted mood, and elevated muscle mass, to start. But how you build that muscle is important too. No matter how much weight you are lifting, the technique is important. And paying attention to each part of the movement is key. Enter eccentric versus concentric movement.
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