We’ve all had days when we’ve been exhausted, stressed out, achy, and we don’t want to work out. Just the idea of going for a run or hitting the gym is too much, and while we know that exercising will boost our energy levels and help us to feel better, we just don’t want to. In truth, the workouts that we do when our energy levels are low are perhaps the most important. On these days, we might not hit any PBs or burn loads of calories, but we get over the mental hurdle of being too tired to move. We push ourselves when it’s hard, and we get the reward of a huge adrenaline boost that leaves us feeling much happier and more alert for the rest of the day. You’ll even sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed. But how do you find enough energy to exercise? And which exercises are best for those low-energy days.
Get Your Pre-Workout Right
On low-energy days, the right pre-workout is crucial if you want a worthwhile workout. Start with what you eat. Sugar isn’t always ideal, as it often leads to a big crash later, but if you’ve got a workout to get through, breakfast with plenty of natural sugars in the form of fruit can be a big help. You’ll also need protein, so consider eggs, yogurt, and peanut butter.
A pre-workout supplement can also be useful. There are some good options for both men and women that offer an energy boost, as well as all of the vitamins that you need to maximize your workout.
Then, warm up. When you are tired, you are more likely to get injured. So, don’t neglect your warmup, even if you only have the time for a few stretches or a short walk.
Hydration is always important when you exercise, but your body has to work harder when your energy levels are low. This means that it needs more hydration for even a short workout. Keep sipping water throughout the day to aid recovery.
Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing or alternate nostril breathing sends more oxygen to your brain and throughout your body. This will help you feel more alert and give your muscles the energy they need to exercise. Sit and take a few deep breathes, breathing in slowly through your nose and slowly and deliberately out through your mouth.
Get on the Mat
Cardio might not appeal to you if you are feeling exhausted. So, don’t do it. Roll the mat out and practice some yoga or Pilates. Both exercises can strengthen muscles, improve posture, and reduce stress contributing to your tiredness.
Weights are also ideal if you are short on time or don’t feel like a full session. Reduce the weight if you need to, or practice something like kettlebells, which is more active and will get your heart rate up and your blood pumping.
Just Do Something
Remember, there are no rules when it comes to exercise. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day off when you are low on energy. If you want to get the mental benefits of exercising without having to break through that mental wall to hit the gym, do something that you enjoy. Dance around your house for an hour or go for a long walk in the countryside. Doing something different can help wake up new muscles, and as long as you are moving, it counts.
Remember to Refuel
Yes, exercise will help you feel more alert, but it’s still hard work, and it takes more energy out of your body. Don’t forget to refuel with a high protein snack or meal and plenty of water after your workout.
We all have days where we are too tired to workout. We’re too busy, we’re stressed out, our body aches, and we can’t see the benefits. But, know that they are there if you can just take that first step towards the gym, the mat, or the great outdoors.