Jess T (Leap studio admin) writes –
Four months since I began regular exercise after an extended break, it’s been intriguing to reflect on the various changes I’ve noticed along the way, physiologically and during everyday activities.
When Leap first re-opened following COVID-19 lockdown, it had been almost 18 months since I had done any exercise or played sport. This was mainly due to the hectic and stressful year in which I sat my HSC exams.
That year was mentally-challenging, and saw the beginning of several unhealthy habits. As an otherwise healthy and illness-free 18 year-old, these habits materialised as stress-eating, caffeine dependence, and disastrous sleeping patterns.
Despite vowing to return to regular exercise this year, COVID-19 presented another roadblock.
Once Leap re-opened, I took full advantage of our in-studio classes. As a uni student, exercise with our experienced instructors at Leap in between and after work was a dream come true. I could also do a DIY session at any time I desired once classes started filling up.
Since then, I’ve hit 50 visits in 15 weeks by doing at least 3 classes a week.
If you haven’t heard Shirley mention already, the American College of Sports Medicine Physical Activity Guidelines recommend at least 150 mins of exercise each week, including aerobic and muscle strengthening activities (this just means a combination of cardio and strength).
So it’s no surprise that keeping this regime up has since begun to produce some noticeable differences.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed after 4 months of having a consistent exercise routine:
1. Heavier weights and springs in class. It sounds pretty obvious but challenging yourself is daunting, especially in the presence of experienced and advanced members. Of course, there is still a long way to go, but transitioning from beginner to intermediate to advanced springs in Reformer class has been motivating and difficult in the best ways possible.
2. Increased endurance in both exercise and everyday activities. Taking longer to become tired may not sound like the greatest achievement but being able to complete chores around the house or walk to uni without running out of breath like I used to is quite the advantage!
3. Start of muscle growth and definition. As someone who never did consistent training prior to Leap, it’s rather exciting to see my muscles taking shape.
4. Exercise becomes a habit. I noticed myself coming in for class even on days I wasn’t working at the studio. This became a common occurrence, and our members have probably seen me pretty much every weekday!
5. Improved energy and focus. I am notorious for being constantly tired (Shirley definitely agrees) and often using caffeine for energy. You’ve probably heard that exercise makes you more alert and focused. This is because as you exercise, your heart rate increases, sending more blood and therefore oxygen to your brain. Personally, I’ve noticed that I’ve been able to concentrate more post-exercise for up to 3 hours!
Other significant health benefits from exercise, such as stronger and denser bones, take much longer to occur. And studies have shown that exercise regimes have a 50% dropout rate in the first six months. So as soon as you get past the initial six months, you’ll continue to reap the benefits of consistent exercise.
For further motivation, a study revealed that people who exercised five days a week for just 30 mins saved on average, $3500 a year in medical expenses on heart-related issues alone. Not only will you save money, you’ll also be at lower risk of developing many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, dementia, arthritis and many types of cancer.
So the next time you contemplate whether you should drag yourself to class, reflect on what changes you’ve felt since you started exercising, and remind yourself that whilst it’s okay to miss sessions once in a while, consistency is the key to producing results.
And I’ll see you in class soon!
P.S. We encourage everyone to notice results other than the number on your scale. See this blog piece for 10 better ways to measure your exercise progress without the scale!