When it comes to change and health, most people are impatient. This is understandable as they have often reached a point where they have realised that they are not happy with their current situation and are excited by the prospect of feeling better or being able to do more. Unfortunately, the harsh reality of change is that it takes time. How much? Well that depends on a few things.
One of the most important questions to ask is “how long has my situation been like this?” If you have been inactive for 10 or more years, do you think that it is likely that 2 weeks of exercise is going to substantially change your strength or energy levels? When thinking about it this way, we are often more logical and can set realistic expectations around when change is likely to occur.
While starting regular exercise has a wealth of positive benefits, each persons journey is slightly different and their progress along that journey is unique. Some people will start to feel better immediately, however for most people it is normal to feel a bit more tired and slightly sore initially as their body adapts. In fact it can take some time before most people have a moment where they stop and appreciate the changes.
It is for these reasons that many people start a health improvement endeavour and give up shortly after. To properly understand the length of time required for change it is important to consider the following:
- It takes around 2 or more weeks for your nervous system to start to work better in sync which means that your muscles work together. This can make you seem stronger but there are no physical muscle changes happening yet
- It takes 6 or more weeks before the muscles themselves start to adapt allowing you to gain strength
- Bone density changes on average 3% per year
- While it is easy to go away for a weekend, indulge a bit too much and put on 2-3kg in 2 days, it generally takes 8 or more days with nutrition changes for people to lose 1kg
As you can see health changes take time! So the next time that you are looking to make a health related change don’t forget to consider the bigger picture in order to set realistic time frames around your changes.