After a long day at work or school it is difficult to get motivated to exercise, with feelings of fatigue playing a large role. Twenty-four percent of you responded that this was the case when asked about perceived barriers to exercise in my opinion poll. Ironically, physical inactivity
can zap you of energy. This is because your de-conditioned heart, lungs and muscles are less efficient and have to work harder to meet the daily demands placed on them in comparison to a physically fit body. In other words, to perform the same task such as gardening, the unfit body has to perform at a greater percentage of its overall ability to do work than that of a fit body. Because the unfit body is working harder, it fatigues sooner.
Regular exercise improves your aerobic capacity and boosts energy levels. Aerobic capacity is a marker of physical fitness and is a term used to describe your body's ability to transport and utilize oxygen to produce energy for your body. If you have a high aerobic capacity, you will not fatigue as easily because your heart and lungs are able to deliver more oxygen to your muscles; and, your muscles are better able to extract oxygen from the blood. As a result, your body is able to produce more energy for daily occupational and recreational tasks, leaving you with more energy at the end of the day.
Unfortunately, physical inactivity and the resultant fatigue can lead to a viscous cycle. To break this cycle try the following:
1. Wake up 45 minutes earlier to exercise before going to work
2. Engage in active forms of commute (e.g. ride your bike to work)
3. Walk or workout during breaks or lunch hour (remember 10 minute
bouts throughout the day can have the same benefit as sessions
of 30 minutes or longer)
4. Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep at night (exercise will help to improve
5. Avoid foods and beverages high in sugar and caffeine which can
lead to low energy levels after the temporary high
6. Eat a healthy snack of fruit, yogurt or nuts in the late afternoon to
provide you with energy if you plan on exercising after work
Once you improve your fitness level, daily tasks will not be as fatiguing. Consequently, you will have more energy at the end of the day.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
Labels: aerobic capacity, energy levels, fatigue, physical activity, physical inactivity, regular exercise