5 ways your body is telling you to exercise more

Woman Working out at Home
Even if it's just at home, working out makes all the difference.
Seth Wenig/AP
  • If you want to experience the health benefits of exercise, you need to make sure you're working out enough.
  • There are some obvious signs your body can send if you're not devoting enough time to fitness.
  • If you're getting sick more often, experiencing shortness of breath, or have been feeling blue, then getting a little exercise might be exactly what you need.

If you made a resolution to exercise more this year, you're not alone. Millions of people recommit to fitness when the new year rolls around — and for good reason.

The benefits of exercise are obvious: increased quality of health, improved mood, increased metabolism, increased energy level and a decrease in certain diseases.

But how do you know if you're getting enough exercise?

Other than the 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise recommended by the American Heart Association and the Center for Disease Control, are there ways your body can tell you that you need to be exercising more?

INSIDER talked to fitness expert Brandon Mentore about the signs your body is telling you to exercise more, and here's what he had to say.

You're getting sick more often.

man flu shutterstock jelena danilovic
Exercise can help boost your immune system.
Shutterstock/Jelena Danilovic

Mentore told INSIDER that if you find yourself getting sick more often than usual, you might need to increase your physical activity in order to stimulate muscle tissue (which upregulates the immune system).

In fact, research has established a link between moderate, regular exercise and a strong immune system.

You're all backed up.

woman bathroom phone
Working out can get things going.

"If you find yourself more irregular than usual you may need some physical activity to stimulate your bowels and pump the system," said Mentore.

Exercise can stimulate intestinal activity, which moves waste through your digestive tract and prevents constipation. The more you exercise, the less time it takes for food to make its way through the large intestine, which in turn decreases the amount of water that your body absorbs from your stool. 

You find yourself out of breath a lot.

Runner Tired out of Breath
Labored breathing could be a sign of a deconditioned cardiovascular system.

Mentore said this is probably one of the more common signs your body can send that you need to exercise more.

He explained that if you notice a shortness of breath when doing an activity that doesn't normally result in breathing problems, or you're engaging in an activity that you normally have no problems with, but you now have labored breathing, this could be a sign of a deconditioned metabolism and cardiovascular system, both of which can be improved with exercise.

You're feeling down a lot.

Woman Sad Sitting
Working out can boost your mood.
Paola Chaaya/Unsplash

"Exercise boosts dopamine, beta-endorphins and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), improving your mood, memory and productivity," said Mentore.

So, if you're noticing your mood is off, and you tend be more frustrated, angry, sad or depressed, this might indicate a low dopamine state and overall suppressed neurotransmitter function.

Exercise can help boost your mood and improve symptoms related to depression and anxiety.

You're having trouble sleeping.

woman cant sleep insomnia
Exercise can help regulate your circadian rhythm.
Sergey Mironov/Shutterstock

Exercise and physical activity speed up the performance of your entire body including your body clock, which tunes and controls sleep cycles.

Mentore said if you're experiencing unusual bouts of insomnia, exercise can help regulate your circadian rhythm and flip the switches back to their proper order so that you can get back on track with your sleep.

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