When You Need More Energy, Do Something Active, Not Passive
When your energy levels are running low, relaxing is usually an instinctive reaction. And while power napping can occasionally prove beneficial, lounging can actually prove to be counterproductive in the longterm. For this reason, if you’re lacking in energy, it’s highly recommended that you do something active.
Although this sounds tiring, and impractical- it’s actually one of the most efficient ways to boost your energy and reactivate your system. Realistically, when you’re tired from work and exhausted by your career, engaging in a super high intensity workout isn’t really an option. And in fact, if you’re lacking in sleep as a result of late nights or jet-lag, then taking a nap is recommended more than any form of exercise.
However, if your energy levels are flailing despite abundant sleep, then this can certainly be rectified through exercise. In fact, exercise is a great way to fight fatigue. And while this may seem unlikely, as fatigue usually deters you from exercise, boosting your energy levels isn’t dependent on high-power exercise. This is because boosting your energy relies less on the intensity of the exercise, and more on the timing and type of physical activity.
The reasons as to why exercise is so effective at treating chronic fatigue are unclear, and as of yet most conclusions are largely speculative. There also are different theories as to why low-intensity exercise is better at boosting your energy levels than more strenuous activities, and researchers at some of the world’s finest institutions have presented their cases in recent studies, although none of the ideas are definitive.
The general consensus seems to be that moderate to high-intensity exercise is too difficult for people who are suffering from low energy levels to perform. As low-intensity exercise can fall into many categories, including a leisurely walk, this makes it much more accessible to people who are already tired. In fact, working out excessively when you’re drained can be incredibly counterproductive. Psychologically, it can completely demoralize you. And physically, it can drain you of even more energy- as well as put you at serious risk of energy.
Once you’ve determined the intensity of your exercise, you need to understand the basics of why exercise is ideal for boosting your energy levels. Having a simple understanding of your body functions will help motivate you to participate in exercise. So how does your body create more energy through physical activity?
Research shows that exercising creates energy in the cells of the body, which is supplied to your muscles during your workouts. This is as a result of mitochondria in your cells, which are little organelles that produce energy. The more aerobic exercise you participate in, the more energy your mitochondria will create. This means that if you exercise, you can literally create more energy for yourself, which can power both your mind and your body.
So, now that you understand the theory surrounding it, it’s time to determine the practicalities. For example, what’s the best type of exercise to boost your energy levels? Determining what type of exercise you engage in is incredibly important. Ideally, it’s any form of low intensity exercise that you’re comfortable with; and fortunately, there are different varieties of these physical activities that can help you fight your fatigue. In fact, if you’re not a keen exerciser, one of the most important things to prioritize is variety. Varying your sports and workouts will keep you interested, and interest is one of the most important factors in remaining committed.
One type of exercise that can help you boost your energy levels, and defeat your fatigue, is cycling. Cycling is an excellent way of exercising because it provides the perfect combination of practicality and sport. If you cycle to the office in the morning, then you can combat your morning tiredness and boost your energy levels for the duration of the day.
Likewise, if you cycle during your lunch break, then you can reactivate your mind and generate new energy to power you throughout your afternoon. The benefit of cycling, as previously stated, is that you can incorporate it easily into your everyday routine. Instead of driving, you can cycle to your office or run daily errands on your bike. By packing a change of clothes, and installing a basket onto your handle bars, you can also ensure that cycling doesn’t interfere with your everyday responsibilities. Moreover, if you aren’t inclined to exercise outdoors, you can also purchase a stationary bike- which will allow you to fit regular workouts into spare moments throughout your day.
Perhaps even easier than cycling is walking. Walking is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, which means that it benefits your heart, while providing an ideal energy boost to your body. Taking a brisk walk, to your office or a nearby store, can introduce more oxygen to your body and help increase blood flow. Both of these reactions can alleviate fatigue, and give you your much needed increase in energy. What’s more, regular walking is an excellent way of treating depression and any stress related conditions you may be suffering from.
This is relevant, because depression and other mental health conditions can cause fatigue. In fact, oftentimes, stress induced depression or anxiety can be incredibly draining to both the mind and body. In fact if your work, or your personal life, is causing symptoms of either condition to manifest in your body- then chances are you may be feeling incredibly lethargic; or worse yet, you may be unable to sleep.
For these reasons, walking is a particularly beneficial form of exercise, because it essentially treats all of the aforementioned problems. It helps boost your energy levels, by encouraging your mitochondria to literally create energy. It may help you sleep better at night, because regular exercise can help stimulate tiredness at night. And it can help reduce predominant symptoms of depression and anxiety, by combating certain chemicals in the brain, and encouraging the release of other good-mood inducing chemicals too.
If walking or cycling are still too intense, or perhaps too mundane for you, then you’re in luck. A third form of low-intensity exercise that has proven to be incredibly energizing is yoga. Particularly in the morning, yoga can help loosen muscles and stretch your limbs, as well as generate the energy needed for you to engage in an active and stressful day. Energizing yoga can help wake you up, but it can also help combat fatigue throughout the day, which makes it the ideal form of exercise for periods of low energy.
For example, if you have a long lunch break available, then one option may be for you to find a yoga studio in the area surrounding your office or workplace. Yoga studios are common, and often very easy to drop in on during a lunch break. They provide a calming environment, that can revitalize your mind and body. Typically, yoga studios also offer beverages such as green tea and coconut water. Both of these drinks can help boost your energy levels, through small amounts of caffeine and hydrating properties. However, if this isn’t something that appeals to you, then you can also perform some simple stretches at home before or after work- as well as in your office or outdoors during the day. The benefit of yoga is that it’s completely free of excessive costs or need for equipment, which makes it accessible to virtually anyone.
Ideally, as a working professional or a busy individual, you should try to find a type of exercise that you can easily incorporate into your normal routine. If your favorite physical activity necessitates the instruction of a professional, or the presence of gear or heavy duty equipment, then it doesn’t serve its purpose in terms of providing a quick burst of energy. The benefits of cycling, walking and engaging in yoga are that (aside from the common bicycle) these forms of low-intensity exercise don’t necessitate any special equipment.
Increase your Stamina
However, despite being simple forms of exercise: cycling, walking and yoga are all incredibly effective at boosting your energy levels. And unlike coffee, as well as other sources of caffeine, the energy that derives from exercise is far more prolonged and sustained. You won’t suffer from a crippling crash an hour after you exercise, for example, much like you suffer from lows soon after your body absorbs caffeine. Low-intensity exercise can do this for you, because while it increases your energy, it doesn’t exert your body too much.
What low-intensity exercise really constitutes is a form of exercise that isn’t too difficult for you to participate in- even when you’re already tired. The idea behind using exercise to boost your energy levels is not to increase your tiredness, or to send you to sleep. It’s to engage in a light, fun activity that can cause a slight sweat- but allow you to feel refreshed after. If you have a particular, favorite sport- then you can definitely adapt it to fit your needs. All you have to do is ensure that you’re not working yourself excessively. And in theory, this should be easy, considering you should engage in a time where you’re already tired.
Your body needs fuel
For example, if you enjoy playing tennis, then consider participating in a game of walking tennis to help boost your energy levels throughout the day. If you jog, consider a brisk walk instead. Likewise, if you enjoy high intensity activities that involve heavy weights or strenuous resistance- consider lowering the degree of all of these components in order to reduce the intensity of your workout. That is, essentially, your priority.
However, if you’re using exercise to boost your energy levels, you shouldn’t rely on energy alone. In order to create energy, your body needs fuel. This means that prior to, and potentially even after your session of low-intensity exercise- you should try to consume a healthy source of sugar and nutrients. A smoothie or juice, as well as a handful of nuts or a simple granola bar, excellent examples of ways to power your workout- without creating the fatigue that follows a large meal.
Overall, lots of research has investigated the principle of using exercise to fight fatigue, and many scientists are now in agreement that low-intensity workouts could be the solution to this ever-growing problem. However, this isn’t to say that exercising is the sole cure to low energy levels. If you suffer from chronic fatigue, a change in diet and a series of blood and urine tests may be necessary to fully resolve the problem. Likewise, if you suffer from any injuries, it’s always best to consult a medical professional before engaging in a regular exercise- regardless of the intensity.
Nonetheless, if you’re in generally good health and are searching for a boost in energy levels, then exercise is definitely an activity to try. So next time you feel that you could use more energy- do something active instead of relaxing. It may truly revolutionize your day.