The unexpected benefits of exercise

May 16, 2024| Current Issue

Christine Sciberras, Founder and Head Coach at Melita Fitness.

There must be thousands of articles that describe the benefits of exercising: muscle mass, longevity, cardio health, mental wellbeing, energy and so on. I know I’ve written a few! And while all those things are important, today I want to shine a light on some unexpected benefits of exercise.

“I walked up Ben Nevis with the family! My husband and teenage kids were so achy the next day. But I was fine! They refused to do any more walking, so I went off by myself!”

Conquering challenges that we thought were too hard is an amazing win. To be able to keep up with our children and family members, whether it’s climbing a mountain or playing football in the garden, is priceless.

“I was new to the area and didn’t know anyone. Now I have a community of women who support and motivate me every step of the way, and who I get to call my friends.”

Finding a sense of belonging and community can be challenging. For many of our members outdoor exercise is the catalyst for building meaningful connections and friendships. We share stories, hold each other accountable and enjoy regular social evenings together.

“I loaded a skip with wheelbarrows full of concrete!”

Enhanced strength and better posture unlock a multitude of activities that were once challenging and also safeguards against future injuries. Tasks like gardening, DIY, or moving furniture become more enjoyable. And it’s a proactive approach to enhancing our quality of life both in the present and in the future.

“It’s made me realise I am capable of so much more than I thought I was.”

It’s a common theme, especially with women who are new to exercise or weight training. Almost every person who starts a class, baulks at the resistance weight that I suggest they start on. But within a few sessions, they’re squatting, lunging and overhead pressing it confidently and competently. And this new confidence permeates into daily life. It gives you the willingness and belief to try new things.

“I no longer feel guilty about putting myself first and I feel so much better knowing I’ve taken some time out of the day just for me and my needs.”

We’re so used to dealing with everyone else’s needs first and putting ourselves at the bottom of the pile. But it’s clear that prioritising self-care is transformative for many women. This shift in mindset is so beneficial to the individual. And it sets a powerful example for others, including our children, that it’s OK to put ourselves first some of the time!

I can lift my 5 year old, 15kg, son on to my shoulders and carry him when he needs it. As he is disabled it is hard to know how much activity he has stamina for, it’s so nice to just plonk him on my shoulders and carry on!

The ability to effortlessly lift and carry our children strengthens our parent-child bond and also facilitates moments of connection and playfulness. Whether it’s lifting a child to get a better view or carrying them to bed after an exhausting day, the physical strength we gain through exercise instils a sense of confidence and reassurance. It empowers us to be more present, active, and responsive to our children’s needs.

If you’d like to get started with exercise, you can try us free for a week: www.melitafitness.co.uk/freetrial