Most people needing a hit of energy will instinctively reach for a cup of coffee, a chocolate bar, or worst of all, a sugar-laden energy drink. There is however, a healthier and far more effective solution to getting you that energy you crave – exercise! Studies have shown that people who partake in regular exercise are less tired and that after exercise, people in general feel less lethargic.
How does exercise give you energy?
It does sound strange that exercise, which burns energy, can help to combat fatigue, but it really does! Exercise gives you more energy by improving your blood flow and therefore carrying more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. In addition, having a healthy active lifestyle can cut the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression and even some cancers. It can also help you keep your weight in check, reduce stress levels and lead to a better night’s sleep.
How can you fight fatigue with exercise?
Experts say you should try to get 150 minutes of physical exercise each week. If you hate going to the gym then why not break it down into 10 minute chunks that fit into your lifestyle? Short brisk walks, bike rides and even housework are all great forms of exercise! If you haven't been active for a while, make an appointment with your GP and start increasing your activity slowly and under the guidance and instruction of your doctor.
What type of exercise is right for me?
In one recent study, researchers found that young people who did a low-intensity exercise (for example walking) three times a week for six weeks, increased their average energy levels by 20%. On top of this, their fatigue levels were also lowered by a whopping 65%! Sedentary people who did a moderate-intensity activity (for example cycling) three times a week for six weeks, raised their energy levels by 20% and cut their fatigue levels by 50%. However, the same studies also revealed that more strenuous exercise (for example competing in a fun run) didn't give the same results. Instead, high-intensity exercise can leave you feeling drained, especially for those who are not used to it. So, if you’re new to exercise, start slowly and build your endurance up gradually.
When exercise doesn't work...
If exercise doesn't help with your energy levels, you should check with your doctor that you don't have a medical condition. Also, make sure you are getting enough sleep every night. Our bodies need rest to properly prepare us for the day ahead. In fact, good quality sleep is just as important to our overall health as diet and exercise, so check you're getting enough every night. If you're not, no amount of exercise will help boost your energy levels. If you're having trouble sleeping or are feeling constantly fatigued, call Newtown Medical Centre today and make an appointment with one of our specialist doctors. (03) 5221 5044.