Although I frickin’ love working out for the physical changes its given me over the past few years (and in particular over the course of 2018 and into 2019, where I’ve been more consistent with my workouts) it is hands-down one of the most beneficial hobbies for day to day life too. Here are five ‘real world’ benefits to getting strong that I’ve discovered over the past 18 months:
Being able to carry exhausted children
I figured that falling asleep in the car and needing carrying into the house would fall out of favour once the youngest reached 3 or maybe 4, but nope. My nearly 7 year old still has the occasional car nap if he’s had a long weekend at his dad’s or we’ve been out somewhere later than usual.
Although my son is pretty average in height and weight, I have found children are somehow twice as heavy when they’re sleeping. It’s no mean feat carrying a limp sleeping boy from the car to the house (bonus points if he doesn’t wake!)
Moving house has never been easier
My husband and I moved house mid-2018, and wanting to save some cash we did the vast majority of the move ourselves (roping in unsuspecting friends and family where possible). As the stronger half of the partnership, I did the bulk of the heavy lifting of larger furniture pieces: huge sofa, white goods, desks and more than one chest of drawers. By taking this on together, I reckon we saved ourselves at least £500 and I had the best two days of workouts I’ve ever had!
Carry all the grocery shopping in, in one go
If this isn’t a superhero skill, I don’t know what is?!
I find very little more satisfying than being able to carry 8 different carrier bags, supported across my dainty straining fingers, into the house in one go. Even better if someone has offered to help and picked up one bag, leaving you to demonstrate the complete fruitlessness of their chivalry. (Yes, I know, I have issues.)
I consider this excellent practice for deadlifts, where a good grip is crucial, and a demonstration of the skills learned doing so (just to feel more hardcore than I really am).
You’ll sleep better
Probably my favourite real world benefit: my sleep is never better than when I’m smashing out at least 3 gym sessions in a week.
As well as being physically tiring, which obviously makes you more susceptible to a good night’s sleep, exercise decreases your stress levels which is one of the most common factors in poor sleep.
A review published in 2017 of various studies on sleep concluded that resistance exercise improves all areas of sleep with particular benefit on sleep quality. 1
Digging up the garden is a piece of cake
If getting outside isn’t your thing (are you a vampire?) this ones not for you… but for the rest of us folk, there’s nothing like a few years of gym training to gear you up for having to dig up your entire garden, as I discovered recently while trying to turn my jungle into something productive.
The same logic could be applied to all manual labour; I know my strength has previously helped me shovel snow for the local school and muck out 30+ cats at my local animal rescue every Tuesday.
I truly believe that fitness and strength should complement our daily lives rather than interrupt it, and what better way to demonstrate that than by using our MAD GAINZ to improve our skills, or save time and money?
If you’ve made use of a real world benefit to being strong that I have missed, I’d love to hear about it…
1 Effects of resistance exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure (Alley JR, Mazzochi JW, Smith CJ, Morris DM, Collier SR.)
Lead photo by Scott Webb, internal photos by Laura Lee Moreau, freestocks.org, Kate Stone Matheson