When we think about being physically fit, most of us focus on getting our bodies in shape and maintaining weight loss.
Although weight gain is an obvious sign that you’re not as active as you should be, physical inactivity can manifest itself in a variety of other ways. Some you may not even realize are connected to lack of exercise.
Toning up your body is one aspect of staying shape, but consistent exercise can affect more than just your waistline.
“One of the biggest complaints I hear from new clients who have realized they’re not exercising enough is that their bodies simply don’t feel ‘good’ to them,” says Dough Barsanti, MA, NSCA-CPT, CSCS. “They feel weak, any physical activity feels tiring, and they have fears of not being able to handle the physical demand of the activities they want to do. That realization is a big motivator for them.”
Whether your ailments are mental or physical, it’s important to pay attention to your body’s current state to gauge your overall health. If you have a feeling you need to exercise more, consider these six signs from your body that you need to be more active.
1. You Have Trouble Sleeping
If you find yourself unable to sleep at night, you may need to work out more.
“People who exercise fall asleep faster and sleep better than people who do not exercise,” says certified personal trainer Jeff Miller.
Studies show that people who exercise for 30 to 40 minutes four times a week show improved sleep quality and feel more rested the following day.
2. You Have Lower Back Pain
“Lower back pain is often caused by poor posture, which is caused by having a weak core, which is caused by — you guessed it — lack of physical activity,” says Miller.
A review published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that any type of exercise — whether it be strength-training or aerobic exercise — can help reduce the risk of lower back pain by 25 to 40 percent.
3. You Have Constant Hunger
It may sound counterintuitive, but if you find that you have an insatiable appetite, it could be due to your inactivity.
“A tired, sluggish body can actually produce more of the hormone ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and cause you to eat more throughout the day in response,” says certified personal trainer and wellness coach Amanda L. Dale, M.Ed., M.A.
“Exercise is one of the only proven, natural appetite suppressants, and people who exercise regularly report fewer feelings of hunger and a more regulated eating pattern.”
4. You’re Moody
When it comes to bad moods, or even mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, most people don’t tend to look at physical activity as a culprit, but working out can play a large role in mood regulation.
“Exercise has been proven to be highly effective in combating low-level depression and even helpful as a complementary method in treating severe cases,” says Dale. “If you’re feeling sad, angry, or fearful, and you just don’t know why, lack of exercise could be the answer.”
5. You’re Always Tired
Feeling lethargic everyday — even if you get enough sleep? It’s time to get moving. Research shows that regular, low-intensity exercise can help boost your energy levels.
“If your body encounters muscle cramping or fatigue, due to stress and low energy levels, a burst of activity could help banish the drowsiness, loosen tight muscles, and promote motivation to power through the day,” says health coach Isadora Baum, CHC.
6. You’re Having Problems Going To The Bathroom
Constipation can be a sign you need to be more physically active.
“Lack of movement and fiber can contribute to poor bowel function,” says Baum. “By staying active, you can promote regularity within the digestive tract.”