Should I Go to the Gym Today?
by Lindsay Tigar
No matter where you are in your fitness journey, you've probably found yourself wondering at one point or another, "Should I go to the gym today?"
Although rest days are important, more often than not, you'll thank yourself for saying "Yes!" to a workout and heading to the gym. Here are nine subtle signs you should grab that gym bag and head out the door.
1. You're Super Stressed at Work
It's 4 p.m., your calendar is booked, and your inbox is overflowing. With all of this stress, running on a treadmill probably doesn't sound like a fun way to end your day. But the truth is, it's one of the best things you can do.
If you need to calm your mind and concentrate on something that isn't work, head to the gym! When you're stressed, there's no better cure than sweating it out.
2. Your Energy Levels Are Low
Feeling sluggish even though you got enough ZZZs last night? It might seem counterproductive, but a workout can actually boost your mood and energy. Exercising can help you feel more motivated and enthusiastic, Everyday Health notes. If you're not feeling your best, you'll likely find yourself in better spirits after a productive gym session.
3. You're Feeling Winded
If you find yourself feeling winded each time you climb a set of stairs, it could be that you're not working out enough. To build up your endurance and stamina, schedule some gym time.
"Regular exercise can increase the strength and function of your muscles, making them more efficient," according to the journal Breathe. "This will immediately reduce the amount of air you will need to breathe in and out for a given exercise." Say goodbye to that out-of-breath feeling!
Remember, if you've been hitting the gym more than usual — or haven't had a rest day in a while — then the exhaustion you're feeling may indicate that you're doing too much.
4. You Aren't Sleeping Well
When counting sheep and cutting back on screen time doesn't work, you may need to take a page from a parenting handbook and, well, wear yourself out (like a toddler burns off energy). If you make it to the gym for a morning workout, you're likely to sleep more soundly once bedtime rolls around.
5. You're Feeling Down
Everyone can use a little mood boost once in a while. Thanks to the sense of community the gym provides — and the supportive trainers who can help you — it's easy to feel connected and inspired while working out! Not to mention, when you exercise for a mere 20 minutes, you release chemicals in your brain called endorphins. These happy hormones will leave you feeling uplifted, re-energized, and ready to tackle the day.
6. You're Working Toward a Goal
If you have a race coming up or you're prepping for a big social event, staying on track is key to meeting your goal. So, if the big day is fast approaching and you're wondering if you should head to the gym, you already know the answer. You'll thank yourself for sticking to your gym routine, we promise!
7. Your Brain Is Foggy
Brain fog can happen to anyone. Refresh your mind and sharpen your memory by working out. "Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means," Harvard Health explains.
If you're studying for an upcoming exam and struggling to stay focused on your books, a stint in the gym may be just what your brain needs. A good workout can reduce inflammation in the brain and increase the health and growth of your brain cells — thus, enhancing your memory and ability to concentrate, and giving your brain some overall (and well-deserved) TLC. Just one more reason to say "Yes!" to the gym.
8. You Need to Get Out of Your Head
Going through a tough breakup? Moving to a new city? It can be difficult not to worry during a stressful time, but fitness can alleviate your anxiety and help foster new friendships. Visiting the gym can provide you a mental break and introduce you to a new community. Plus, all those endorphins can help you feel more confident and sociable.
9. You're in a Really Great Place
On the other hand, if you're feeling like your happiest and healthiest self, why not keep up the momentum? When you're feeling great, you'll enjoy sweat sessions that much more — meaning your progress and performance will be at an all-time high. And that's definitely something to celebrate!
So, next time you ask yourself "Should I go to the gym today?" — consider these nine signs. A solid workout might be exactly what your body needs! As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.