Let's face it, dreams are weird AF. Like, I'm just out here trying to get a good night's sleep, and here are these random AF, vivid images playing over and over in my brain without my consent. Am I the only one mildly bewildered by this? Plus, lately I've been dreaming about working out all the freaking time, and I have absolutely no idea what that means or why it's happening.
Let's start with the basics: Dreams are essentially subconscious imaginations that your mind creates, containing images and sounds, that typically happen during your rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. This is when you're in the deepest part of your overall sleep cycle for the night, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, it's when your dreams are likely to be the most vivid.
TBH, that's all we're really 100 percent sure of when it comes to dreams. There’s no concrete or definitive meaning for the symbols that come up within your dreams, mainly because everyone is different, and everyone goes through unique life experiences that ultimately shape their dreams. However, there are countless interpretations of common dreams to be found online, all of which seek to deconstruct your nighttime imaginations and what they mean about your waking life. Even though a lot of it is speculation, for all you know, these analyses might just help you make sense of your own recurring dreams.
As far as workout dreams go, there are a lot of interpretations out there that try to break down what your brain is really thinking about, and why you keep fantasizing about a good old sweat sesh.
According to DreamMoods.com, if you constantly dream that you're exercising, it might indicate that you're concerned about your health. But the website also offers a different, and perhaps more complex interpretation: Fitness-related dreams might mean you're looking to "exercise" your rights or your power to do something in a certain situation, which wouldn't necessarily have anything to do with actual, physical exercise — something to think about!
If you remember more specific details about your workout dreams, like what exercises in particular you were doing during your slumber, that can be more deeply interpreted, as well. For example, according to an article from the women's magazine Fitness, if your brain is imagining you doing jumping jacks while you're sleeping, it might mean you need more balance in your waking life. But if you're doing sit-ups while you're snoozing, it could mean that you need to work on showing more pride and confidence in yourself.
Other bodyweight workout movements have some potentially significant interpretations, as well: While mentally pumping out push-ups during your snooze could indicate that you need to be assertive and take more initiative in your real life, doing pull-ups in your dream may translate to a challenging situation that calls for some hard work on your part.
Running dreams are a completely different story, though, and could actually be interpreted as you subconsciously avoiding an uncomfortable situation.
DreamStop.com broke down the potential meaning behind a little sweaty cardio your sleepy imagination, because apparently, how far you run and who you're running with can both be things that alter the meaning of your dream. For instance, if you're running alone in your dream and crushing those miles solo, this could translate to major motivation and determination surrounding a certain goal that you've been wanting to achieve — makes total sense, right? If you're jogging in a group, however, DreamStop says the potential meaning is a bit more lighthearted: It could be pointing to some sort of group activity you either have planned for the near future, or one that you want to look further into planning. Perhaps it's time to start thinking about what to do for spring break?
Bottom line: Everyone's different, and there's no one-size-fits-all explanation for why you're dreaming about a certain thing. But these different analyses might help you make sense of what's going on in your nighttime imagination, and TBH, there's no harm in being curious.