Have you ever noticed that the less you move, the less energy you have? Lack of physical activity seems to be a reason for sleep deprivation that many of us experience. It’s almost the opposite of what you might expect, that resting and not expending energy would further zap your energy level. However, sitting around all day is not the equivalent of a good night’s sleep, which might help us feel energized the next day.
The tough part is once you have fallen into this trap, it feels so difficult to get out of it. We may know that moving more will boost our energy levels, but when you are already feeling fatigued, it may seem like the last thing we want to do, especially if your norm for activity has been intense activity.
For example, cardio-wise I love to run, but I haven’t done so in a long time because of the weather and having too much on my plate work & school-wise. The thought of going for a run to boost my energy level seems pretty overwhelming right now. However, it may actually be better for me to go for a short walk. Not only does that feel more doable, but low intensity exercise may be better for boosting one’s energy level.
While none of this is new news…the issue is determining what YOU will do to add those brief bouts of low-intensity activity to break the cycle. Keeping the activity short at first might increase the likelihood that we will follow through with moving and get that energy boost we need. Here are some options:
Use the last 5 or 10 minutes of a lunch break to:
- walk outside
- plug in your ipod and dance to 1 song (with your office door closed of course)
- walk the stairs in your building
- if you are lucky enough to have a gym where you work, hit a cardio machine for 5 minutes.
For those who work at home: take a 10 minute break every 2 hours to:
- walk your dog
- hula hoop
- walk the stairs
- do a few squats or lunges
- do a few minutes of any online or on-demand workout video
- bounce on an exercise ball
- hold a few yoga poses
- play an active video game like Wii or Kinect
What are some ways you add short bouts of activity into your day? Do you feel more energized when you do?