There’s nothing worse than feeling exhausted and someone telling you that you should exercise more. It seems counterintuitive, right? When we’re experiencing fatigue symptoms, we want to rest, but that can actually lead to us feeling more tired.
Case in point: at the beginning of the pandemic, was anyone else feeling tired all the time? I know I was constantly wondering why I was so physically and mentally exhausted, since life had pretty much stopped and I wasn’t even leaving my house!
I’m not suggesting that training for a marathon starting today will jump start your energy, but consistent exercise over time will release epinephrine and norepinephrine, that when triggered by exercise, will energize you. Exercise also makes you healthier so your body functions more efficiently.
But what about sleep? Especially if you’re starting a morning routine and setting the alarm for an earlier time, this feels terrible! But trust me, physical activity combats chronic fatigue by improving both sleep quality and duration. And we all feel better when we’re well-rested.
So what kind of exercise? Low impact is great, at least to start. You don’t have to lift heavy, run fast, or workout for hours. You could start with a good stretch or yoga. Something that lengthens your muscles is always good. Then try a few body weight exercises. Squats, lunges, planks, or crunches allow you to push a little harder without straining.
When you’re ready, increase your cardio, but you can still be low or no impact. Swimming and biking are great options, if you have access to those activities. And if not, get in a brisk walk or jog that gets your heart pumping. For any exercise, we always recommend keeping your phone close by to play your favorite energizing tunes, and in case you need to check in with someone. Starting a new routine should always be done safely! Bring along a running armband or belt that will keep your phone protected and out of the way, but easily accessible, if needed.
The challenge is consistency. Days 1, 2, even 5 might feel hard. But stick with it! Your body will catch on to your new routine and reward you for your healthier lifestyle with better sleep and renewed energy!