by Katie Liddiard, Nutrition and Physical Activity Project Officer


From improved strength and endurance, to better mood, there are so many benefits to being more active. Very quickly we can start to notice slight changes in our bodies. Sore arms, better sleep and springing out of bed in the morning are just some of the amazing, annoying, and surprising effects of physical activity.

Here are five completely normal things you may notice when we start being more physically active:

Sore and achy muscles

When we do strengthening exercises, our muscles get tiny tears in them, and the rebuilding of these tears is what makes our muscles stronger (and bigger). This recovery can leave us feeling achy and sore. This happens particularly when we start working out muscles we don’t normally use. To reduce discomfort, it’s important to ease into our new routines. Often people starting out give it 100 per cent on the first day and then, unfortunately, can’t continue for the rest of the week. This makes it tough to be consistent and overdoing it also leaves us more prone to injury.

Our bodies adapt over time, reducing our achy muscles. In the meantime, try daily stretching, light activity (e.g. walking) and use hot or cold packs to help alleviate the achy muscles.

Energy levels will increase over time

I know what you are thinking… how is exercising and moving more going to give me more energy?

Well, it’s all to do with the mitochondria. The ‘powerhouse’ of our cells, mitochondria help produce fuel in our cells. As you start exercising, you start building more mitochondria and more capillaries (tiny blood vessels) in your muscles. Those capillaries are important for oxygen distribution and delivery to our bodies, giving us more energy.

So… the more physically active we are, the more energy our bodies produce. Sign me up!

Increased hunger levels

Feeling a little hungrier after exercising? This is completely expected. It doesn’t happen to everyone but is normal for those who do experience it. This is simply because our bodies are burning more energy (kilojoules or Calories) and are looking to be refuelled. Don’t ignore this feeling. By choosing a nutritious post-workout snack with a balance of protein and carbohydrates, we can nourish our bodies and keep our hunger in check throughout the day. Try these great post-workout snacks:

  • Cottage cheese on a rice cracker
  • Berries and unsweetened yoghurt
  • Wholegrain toast with peanut butter
  • Tuna and grainy crackers
  • Eggs on wholegrain toast
  • Smoothie with fruit and milk

Increase confidence and self-esteem

A short-term benefit of exercise is that it improves our mood and puts our mind in a more positive state, but a long-term benefit is that it makes us feel good about ourselves and our abilities.

Challenging ourselves and meeting physical activity goals can give us a sense of drive and achievement – and this can bubble over into other areas of our lives.

Day-to-day tasks get easier

Movements such as climbing stairs, reaching to the top shelf, playing with the kids or grocery shopping are all things we do daily. As we become more physically active, our flexibility, strength and mobility will improve making it easier to carry out these everyday tasks.

Being more physically active every day has many benefits and finding something that we enjoy makes it easier to fit it into our daily lives. If you are looking for inspiration or want to find out where to get started, check out our Tips to get active blog and try our new My workout builder.

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