How Exercise Energizes You (and Which Exercises to Perform)
Fatigue, or not having enough energy to workout, is a common reason (i.e. excuse) why some people choose to not exercise. But as counter-intuitive as it may sound, exercising actually increases your energy.
All you must do is get your butt off the couch and do it!
How it happens
The production of energy begins at the cellular level. Once you start exercising, the tiny energy factories in each cell called mitochondria multiply and start working harder to keep up with the increase in demand for energy.
In particular, cardiovascular types of exercises stimulate them the most as these exercises burn up the most calories. But not all types of exercise, even cardio, produce the same benefit.
What works and why
Studies have found that low to moderate intensity exercises, with a duration of 15 to 30 minutes, produce the most energy.
In one study, participants increased energy levels by 20% while reducing fatigue by 65% just by regularly exercising.
Once above the moderate level or greater than 30 minutes in duration, the opposite effect can happen – where you do actually end up fatigued because you are using up energy faster than your mitochondria can make it.
Best types of exercises
As mentioned, cardio produces the most benefit, so it stands to reason why swimming, walking and cycling at the prescribed intensity and workout times increase energy levels.
To increase the benefit, increase the level of work required. For example, swimming can be made more difficult by swimming against a current.
Walking and cycling by choosing a route with hills that must be climbed.
Types of energy
Not all energy is created equal. Researchers have found there are basically two types: calm and tense.
The tense type comes from too high an intensity or too much time – like 45 minutes on the treadmill at an incline – and actually makes you more tired because it creates tension within your body.
However calm energy – the kind created from taking a moderate walk, or doing yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates – creates the calm version which actually increases energy levels.
Dancing to music is another activity with a calm energy effect.
All of these exercises, done at a low to moderate intensity and for less than 30 minutes at a time all produce a calming effect that will leave you feeling more energized:
- Tai Chi
As with many things in life more is not always better; exercising is no different.
4 Ways to Boost Your Energy After a Workout
A good workout will leave you tired and in need of some downtime, which is totally normal, but unfortunately, not everyone can afford to decompress for a few hours after a workout.
For example, a lot of people do their exercise in the morning, which means that they may have to go to work or do other things throughout the rest of the day.
These people cannot afford to rest and regain their energy after a workout, they need an energy boost and they need it quickly.
If you are looking for good ways of regaining energy after a workout, then here’s how you can get it.
Get some protein
After a workout, your muscles will start the process of rebuilding themselves for the next workout session. The rebuilding process takes a while, and it takes a toll on your body as it is forced to use energy to help repair the damaged tissue of the muscles.
Protein is essential to rebuilding your muscles, but it is also great for boosting your energy.
Typically, people will ingest protein before working out, but consuming it after working out can not only speed the rate at which your muscles recover, it also helps give you a boost of energy to continue with your day.
Drink a smoothie
One of the best ways of regaining some energy after a particularly intense workout is to make yourself a smoothie.
Smoothies are great options because they allow you to stuff a bunch of vegetables into one drink, which lets you get the benefits of each vegetable without forcing to consume each one individually.
Make a smoothie with some green vegetables like spinach and a bit of fruit and drink it after your workout. This will give you a ton of energy for two reasons.
First off, you have the green vegetables, which are loaded with energy (among other helpful things). Secondly, you have the fruit which is full of natural sugars and carbohydrates, which will give you even more energy.
Do some light stretching
A good way of regaining some energy after a workout is to do some light stretching or some yoga.
Doing more strenuous activity after an intense workout session is probably the last thing you want to do, but it does help boost your energy levels.
The reason for this is that light stretching or yoga help improve blood flow and circulation, which helps keep your muscles and body healthy.
Get some potassium
Potassium is one of those minerals which helps the body stay energized.
After a serious workout, your body’s reserves of potassium may be running low depending on how much potassium you consume in your diet.
So, it might be a good idea to either eat a banana or throw one into a post workout shake to get some more potassium into the body. You can, of course, use other sources of potassium if you want, but bananas are a very easy way of getting a lot of potassium.