Exercise! Yes, exercise.
You’re tired. Like really tired. Bone-dry dead tired. I get it. I’ve been there many times myself.
And when you’re completely exhausted, it’s not uncommon (or unreasonable) to conveniently hide your own shoes (ha, ha, ha), when you think about having to do a workout.
But if you’re literally tired of being tired all the time, you may want to rethink the whole idea of regular exercise and physical activity.
Here’s why: Exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have for increasing our energy levels, and you don’t even need to do a lot to reap the full benefits.
Sounds good, right?
So how does exercise actually increase energy — rather than drain you further?
A University of Georgia study found that performing 20 minutes of low intensity exercise could decrease fatigue by up to 65 percent!
A physical activity as simple as walking, yoga or a leisurely bike ride (for only 20 minutes!) can do so much more for your energy than a cup of coffee or an energy drink ever could.
There’s a lot of amazing things going on in your body during a workout session. When you exercise, your body increases its production of serotonin, endorphins and dopamine — all of which are powerful mood boosters.
Dopamine, in particular, has been found to make us feel more alert and motivated. This is exactly why it pays to take that 20-minute walk during your lunch break instead of scrolling through your social feeds.
In addition to releasing these helpful neurotransmitters, exercise has been found to help us sleep better.
When your body gets the rest it needs on a regular basis, you’ll have the energy to get through your busy day — and maybe even have more to spare!
Can Exercise Work Against You?
While a regular sweat session is typically a great thing for your body, there may be some circumstances where a workout can actually affect your energy in a negative way.
Working out at night may make it very difficult to wind down and get a restful sleep. Some experts recommend avoiding vigorous exercise up to 3 hours before bedtime.
However, results from a study reported in an article in the Journal of Sleep Research indicate that vigorous late-night exercise does not disturb sleep quality. However, it may affect cardiac autonomic control of the heart during the first sleeping hours.
Therefore, it appears that whether one is likely to get a restful sleep or not after working out at night depends on the individual.
For those with especially hectic schedules, late evening may be the only time of day they can fit in a workout.
However, consider moving your workout to the morning to increase your energy for the whole day. But if you simply can’t, try sticking to a lower intensity nighttime exercise routine so you can wind down when it’s time to sleep.
Can Exercise Be Too Much of a Good Thing?
Yes, you can get too much of a good thing. Exercising too much can actually have the opposite effect on your energy levels.
One study looked at the effects of over-exercising. Participants were put through a rigorous physical training regimen for 10 days followed by 5 days of active recovery.
Not only did participants notice a decrease in performance, they also complained of extreme fatigue and difficulty sleeping.
So How Much Exercise Is Enough?
It is recommended by many healthy lifestyle experts to get approximately 150-minutes of moderate-vigorous exercise each week to maintain good health. You’ll know you’re getting the right amount of exercise if you notice your energy levels are increasing.
If, after upleveling your exercise efforts, you’re (still) feeling lethargic or are having difficulty sleeping, there’s a good chance you may be overtraining.
One last point about Exercise & Energy — the food you eat also plays a huge role in your energy levels! In addition to getting regular exercise, be sure to fuel your body with whole foods throughout the day to keep your energy levels up and maintained.
Now what about you? Do you exercise? If so, what have you noticed about your energy level in connection to exercise? How does exercising affect your sleep? When you feel tired, do you make every effort to get up and exercise? Please leave a response below. As always, we’d love to hear from you.