14 Critical Signs You Are Out of Shape & What to Do About It


girl out of shape running

How many times have you thought to yourself, “Gosh, I am seriously out of shape”? It may be that nagging feeling reminding you that things aren’t as they used to be, meaning that you feel as if your body is alien?

Or, in some cases, and this applies to most of us, you wake up, and you realize that there is this pair of pants or a shirt you used to love but haven’t worn in months. So, you pick it up creased from behind the wardrobe and surprise; it doesn’t fit you!

If any of these scenarios depict your life, you may be out of shape.

But, there are people bigger than you who are fit, you argue – you may not be that out of shape. Well, we agree with you, it is hard to determine your level of fitness and whether you are in shape or not only by the clothes you wear.

And, just for that reason, we dug out other red line indicators of being out of shape.

1. You Feel Depressed

woman hair

Being out of shape isn’t all about looking good and fitting into the right clothes. Your mind can be out of shape too. One of the ways through which your body manifests being out of shape is through depression.

While it isn’t unusual and unhealthy to feel sad, you have to reconsider your lifestyle when you find yourself particularly sad all the time even after receiving good news like that of a promotion. Ladies, if you are always sad and you feel super sensitive even after your monthly friends leave town, then you could be suffering from depression.

Gentlemen (and ladies), if you don’t feel delighted by anything in your world, then your regular mood swings could be a pointer to a bigger problem.

You may be eating right, but if the cloud doesn’t lift even after ditching sugar, you may have to make a few changes in your life.

How to get out of the depressive state: Exercising

While depression results from many issues; and you may have to get professional help plus medication to get out or to get relief, you can do your part in relieving mild depression. On your own, here is something you can do to get your mental health and state back to shape – exercise.

You may not have the energy to get out of the bed or the couch during a depressive episode but, you can force yourself to.

Exercise helps a great deal by causing the release of endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good-hormones, and they help to relieve stress by stimulating that Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis by increasing blood flow.

When the HPA is out of order, there is more cortisol flowing through the bloodstream compared to the level of endorphins. Cortisol is a stress hormone countered by endorphins. Besides endorphins, there is the release of endocannabinoids during and after exercising. These biomolecules ease depression.

Also, exercising lowers the level of immune system chemicals alleviating the symptoms of depression. Finally, exercise helps because it increases your body temperature which results in a calmed state.

2. Trouble Sleeping

It is hard to believe that at some point in your life, you didn’t have any trouble falling asleep. Yet, if you look at your life now, you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep.

If you are wondering what went wrong, then, we have a simple answer – you are out of shape. Yes, you are still slim but, being out of shape, as mentioned above, means more than adding inches to your waistline.

Insomnia and trouble sleeping, in general, may be a sign of depression.

However, in most cases, tossing and turning when you don’t feel sick points to an inactive body. So, if you have been struggling to sleep through the wee hours of the morning, you should consider getting more done.

What should you do?

To exert the right amount of energy, even after a hectic day at work, here is what you should do, challenge yourself physically. While hitting the gym is the best way to exert more energy HIIT exercises at home will push you harder.

When your body feels tired, especially from working out, you find it easy to fall asleep faster.

3. You Crave Sugar & Junk Food

woman with sugar cravings

We all treat ourselves to sugary delights once in a while. When you are physically active and trying to stay healthy, you will not parlay all your efforts in the gym. However, when you aren’t working out or when you lack the motivation to hit the gym, you will not feel guilty having one more scoop of ice cream.

The problem is, even when you have a trim figure, once you start eating a lot of sugar, you are unable to stop. Sugar is an addictive chemical, just like cocaine or tobacco, or alcohol.

It alters your brain chemistry, and like drugs, you realize that sugar gives you a high. While it may not seem like a big issue, it is. If you are getting addicted to sugar, then your life and your body are spiraling out of order.

Wondering how you can know if you have a sugar addiction?

Try this – think of your favorite sugary delight or junk food, does the thought of giving it up bring tears to your eyes? Oh, something else, you cannot hide sugar addiction because it shows on your skin and through your clothes when you add weight.

What causes sugar addiction?

Well, many theories are surrounding this. However, the main causes include hormonal imbalances, bacterial and candida overgrowth, adrenaline overload, and thyroid fatigue.

a) Thyroid fatigue

– This manifests as feeling tired constantly which creates the need to eat something sugary to bring back up your low energy levels.

b) Bacterial & yeast overgrowth

– Bacteria and yeast feed off sugar and when you eat more sugar, they multiply faster – asking for more sugar.

c) Adrenaline overload

– This happens when your adrenal glands pump out a lot of adrenaline and cortisol when you are under pressure. So, when you are under constant pressure, you are bound to feel sluggish and reach for sugar.

d) Hormonal imbalances, PMT or menopause

– Low estrogen and progesterone levels cause insulin resistance resulting in sugar cravings.

What to do about sugar and junk food addiction? Exercise and eat healthy!

#1. Exercise

– This is the most effective solution for beating sugar or junk food addiction. How? When you exercise, your brain’s HPA axis releases feel good hormones. These feel-good hormones give off that good vibe you get from eating sugar. So, while working out gives good addictive effects and vibes, it’s the good kind of addiction.

By exercising, you alter your brain’s chemistry in the right way. Once you notice some changes in your weight and appearance, you will get the motivation to work out more.

#2. Eat healthy food

– You’ve probably read hundreds of articles on healthy eating. Unfortunately, we cannot leave it at that. We shall emphasize the following:

  • Avoid processed foods as they are the biggest cause of addiction.
  • Catch enough ZZZ hours to boost your blood serotonin levels naturally.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners and satisfy your sweet cravings naturally.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water. When dehydrated, your body lies to you by asking for sugar while all you need is some drinking water.
  • Eat more greens and fruits. You should also consider getting some cultured vegetables because they will help fight off sugar cravings. You should also include more sea vegetables in your diet.
  • Vitamins – you can curb sugar cravings resulting from hormonal deficiencies by increasing your vitamin B6 intake. B6 eases the deficiency of the feel good hormone, prostaglandin E1.
  • Start probiotic supplementation with natural yogurt.

Finally, stop emotional feeding. Shift your focus to something else that makes you feel good; other than sugar.

4. Feeling Sluggish

If you feel lazy and sluggish most of the time, preferring to ‘Netflix and Chill’ over an evening yoga session you once treasured, you are getting out of shape. Also, if you lack the energy to shop for groceries or walk the dog, then, you need to reassess your life.

What to do about sluggishness?

Research shows that feeling constantly fatigued; even when the doctors give you a clean bill of health, is a sign of physical inactivity. This may seem like the last thing you wish to hear, but you can easily counter fatigue by becoming active in the gym.

Exercise energizes your body from the inside out through the smallest body units – the cells. When you are physically active, your cells regenerate faster.

The numbers of mitochondria increase from the increase in the number of cells, and you have more energy. Active cells produce more mitochondria, and you will soon become an energy bubble.

5. Lack of Balance

balanced man

Can you stand upright on one leg without tipping over for a few seconds? Try it – close your eyes and try balancing on one leg! Balance may not seem like a big issue especially if you aren’t a gymnast but, you need some form of physical body balance besides work-life balance.

Poor balance compromises your health and often leads to premature aging.

The big problem we all face is that our movement is under the control of the subconscious. So, even if impaired we hardly notice unless someone mentions the issue or when the impairment is advanced.

Even though we decide when we want to walk, it’s the Central Nervous System (CNS) that runs the show. The CNS determines the muscles contraction and relaxation hence our gait. Apart from the CNS, there is the vestibular system, a small organ in the ear.

When the vestibular system isn’t working properly, then you will lose your balance. Of course, your weight and the proportionality of your body also plays a role in balance.

How to regain and maintain balance?

Fortunately or unfortunately, exercise is the best way of correcting balance deficits. The best balance exercises include lunges, standing knee raises, standing toe tap, and the hallway walk.

The hallway walk involves:

  1. Walking down the track or the hallway
  2. Then take 3 or four steps looking over your right shoulder,
  3. Walking straight ahead, three or four steps

Once done, you repeat the same moves on your left side.

6. You Can’t Do Pushups

A push-up is the ultimate measure of fitness. If you cannot perform a pushup, you are out of shape, and your physical health is wanting. What this means is that it doesn’t matter if you can run for miles or not.

And, if you can run and workout but still can’t perform a pushup, you are working out ineffectively.

The reason why pushups are this important for physical health is that this exercise engages all muscles groups in the chest, back, shoulders, arms, abdomen, legs, and hips. Therefore, pushups test the whole body.

What to do?

Practice more. There is no escaping a pushup. For the perfect pushup, lower yourself with your arms tucked close to the body before pushing yourself back up.

If you are struggling, you can start with your knees on the ground. It gets easier with time.

7. Chronic Pain

arthritis pain

The pain isn’t getting away, is it? Well, we know your problem, you are out of shape. The main type of pain that concerns you and the rest of the human population is lower back pain. It is becoming a chronic issue and medications hardly work.

Lower back pains are often the result of inactivity or long sitting hours. Noting that most blue-collar workers for more than six hours daily, it is no wonder everyone complains. Chronic lower back pain is debilitating, and it could eventually leave you jobless.


So, instead of waiting for the pain to control your life, get control of things now. Here is what we should all do – get physically active. Though it sounds counteractive, the pain shouldn’t keep you out of the gym but into the gym. Since lower back pain results from a weak core or a de-conditioning, working out helps resolve the issue.

The same applies to shoulder pain or neck pain which results from your posture. A hunched neck causes tightening of chest muscles and weakening of back muscles.

8. Wide Waist Circumference

This has to be on the list! When you keep going an inch up every time you shop, then you know that there is something wrong. Being out of shape also means being disproportional.

So, a bigger waist circumference is definitely an issue.

Besides looking unfit and having to wear loose or big clothes, extra weight around the midsection area signals problems with main organs such as the liver, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, the heart, and the digestive organs. And, no one loves those love handles.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Get physically fit
  • Eat healthy food
  • Let go of the stress

The good thing with this is that working out correctly and eating well makes you less stressful.

9. You Get Winded Easily

couple running

Do you have trouble catching your breath after walking up a flight of stairs or going for a short run? Well, you are losing your healthy mojo and getting out of shape fast.

Even seasoned athletes struggle to catch their breath after a sprint or a marathon. However, struggling to catch your breath after one flight of stairs points to a cardiovascular issue.

Cardiovascular activity is the other critical feature that determines your physical fitness. So, if you feel like you have a breathing problem every time you walk, you should reconsider your lifestyle.

What to do?

Besides eating healthy food and pushing yourself further, you should take more brisk walks and other forms of low resistance exercises. When you are ready, you can take up strenuous cardio exercises. Keep in mind that cardio is tough.

Why shouldn’t you stop exercising when you start? If you used to hit the gym, you might be wondering why you cannot stay on the treadmill for as long as you used to.

While muscle memory lasts years, breaking for even two weeks after visiting the gym makes you out of shape physiologically.

When actively training, you gain muscle mass and strength. Your cardiovascular system is also strong. You also increase your training endurance when active, and your blood volume increases by up to 27 percent.

Once you stop exercising, you lose all gained. First, the maximum volume of oxygen you used to take in when exercising increases significantly and muscle performance decreases too. You also lose plasma and blood volume.

Later, your muscles atrophy and you lose your ability to burn fats. With lowered fat catabolism, you accumulate weight fast and getting back to it becomes a challenge. If you don’t change that, you develop insulin resistance and become diabetic.

See how fast things spiral out of shape?

10. You Have a High Resting Heart Rate

When resting, your heart rate should be low and in resting state of between 60 and 100 heartbeats per minute. If your heartbeat rate is above 100 heartbeats per minute when resting, you should consider taking part in cardio.

A high resting heart rate indicates tachycardia.

Tachycardia is common with physically inactive persons, as well as individuals with a high body weight. The high resting heart rate could also indicate high levels of circulating blood fats.

Tachycardia is also a leading cause of premature death.

What to do? See a doctor, monitor your diet and get back in shape. Take part in more cardio exercises. You should also monitor your heart rate.

11. It Takes Longer for Your Heart Rate to Slow Down After a Workout Session

You know that you are out of shape when your heart can’t stop pounding minutes after a workout. While it is normal for your heartbeat to be anywhere between 140 and 180 beats per minute, it should decrease by about 20 beats per minute by the time you finish your workout.

With the resting heart rate at between 60 and 100 beats per minute, you know that you are unfit if it takes you hours to get to within this range. In some cases, your heartbeat could be above 100 beats per minute when resting.

As mentioned above, that indicates being out of shape.

12. You Wish You Were Somewhere Else Other Than The Gym


Your brain knows when you are out of shape, but you may not get the signals it sends your way. One of the biggest indicators of an out-of-shape body is ‘not feeling it.’

If you put on your new sneakers but still don’t feel motivated to work out, you are losing shape. Probably, your workout regime isn’t as relaxing, and mitochondria aren’t releasing as much energy as they used to.

What to do?

Get started even when you don’t want to. As long as you start, you will be able to burn calories. For motivation, look out for fun exercises.

If you get bored fast and you dislike the crowded gym, the internet is a rich information base with all the workouts for people who get bored fast.

13. You Are Prone to Injuries

Do you pull a hamstring every time you hit the road or the gym? Has your ankle had its unfair share of sprains? Well, you are out of shape but, you need to get back to the gym.

Hurting easily shows that your body isn’t working properly.

Hurting could be a result of muscle imbalances, and you may also be asymmetrical. What should you do? Instead of whining, work out and strengthen those muscles. You should also stretch and roll your muscles.

14. You Slouch

Are you slouching as you read this article from your phone or computer? You know it, you are out of shape. Slouching indicates poor health and atrophied muscles.

If your body carries extra fat and you have atrophied back muscles, you won’t be able to get your good posture back easily. Effects of slouching include tension in the back and the shoulders, headaches, fatigue and gastrointestinal reflux.

Remedies to slouching:

  • Stretch when you get up
  • Stretch to get flexible
  • Work from a comfortable position
  • Lift the right way
  • Watch your sleep posture
  • Strengthen your core muscles

Note that it will be harder getting a good posture when you have always slouched.

How do you know that you aren’t in bad shape?

  1. You can hold a plank on your elbows for at least 60 seconds
  2. Your heart doesn’t pump out of your chest when you run
  3. You can perform lunges without tipping over
  4. You have a low pulse at resting metabolic state
  5. Your body fat ranges from 21-24% if you are a lady
  6. You can perform pushups with one hand and one leg on the ground
  7. You can sit and touch your toes
  8. You sleep well

Do you still think you are in good shape?

Hello, I hope you find here all the best info that will help you lose weight and feel healthy and fit. My pen name is Christine and I want to make this site a great resource for those that want to get fit. Please, keep in mind that this website is for informational purposes only and that you always need to consult your decisions with your doctor.