How Exercise & Being Physically Active Impacts Your Energy
I want to share with you how exercise impacts your energy levels; even if you are living with a chronic pain or chronic health condition.
When you’re completely exhausted, the last thing you want to do is lace up your shoes for a workout or doing any long duration of physical activity. But if you’re tired of being tired all the time, you may want to rethink the idea of regularly exercising or being physically active.
Exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have for increasing our energy levels and you don’t need to do a lot to reap the benefits.
In fact, a University of Georgia study found that performing 20 minutes of low intensity exercise could decrease fatigue by up to 65%!
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.
So How Does Exercise Actually Increase Energy?
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 brisk walk during your lunch break instead of scrolling through your social feeds. Even if it is for just 6 minutes!
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 some to spare!
But, Can Exercise Actually Work Against You?
While a regular exercise or being physically active is typically a great thing for your body, there are some circumstances where a workout can actually affect your energy in a negative way.
Working out at night can make it very difficult to wind down and get a restful sleep. Experts recommend avoiding vigorous exercise up to 3 hours before bedtime.
For those with especially hectic schedules, this can be a challenge since it may be the only time of day they can fit in a workout, however there are ways to do a simple workout in 6 minutes or less.
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 It 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 regime 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 it is important to have a good schedule of types of exercise, the frequency, the intensity, and type of exercise you are doing to minimize this type of effect.
So How Much Exercise Is Enough?
It is recommended by many healthy lifestyle experts to get approximately 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week to maintain good health. The type of exercise and physical activity you do will be determined by where you are at now and how to progress forward in an individualized program.
You’ll know you’re getting the right amount of exercise if you notice your energy levels are increasing over time.
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. To minimize this, it is always best to do work with a professional who knows about you as well as your health condition status, for example if you have fibromyalgia, it is knowing about how much rest to also have in your exercise plan to help gain energy.
One Last Point I Have 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 as well as hydrate throughout the day to keep your energy levels up and maintained.
It is always best to take the time to invest in yourself, individualize the exercises and/or physical activities you enjoy into your day, week, and months.
p.s. If you would like to know more about the studies mentioned or want to find out ways to make an individualized exercise plan, let me know, click here.