When we're tired, the last thing most of us want to do is work out! But exercise is one of the best ways to decrease fatigue! When you're looking to increase your energy, stop feeling tired, and become more fit and active, your goals should be to keep it simple, stay consistent, and enjoy yourself. Here are 8 tips to decrease fatigue and adopt an active lifestyle.
1. Start Slow
You don’t want to shock your system when you're trying to decrease fatigue because then you won’t keep up with a newly adopted exercise activity. You want to take it easy in the beginning and just focus on staying consistent. Do something every day, and make sure it’s something that won’t make you yelp in pain for the next five days every time someone hugs you. Go for a walk, jump on your bike for 25 minutes, take a leisurely hike up a mellow trail, or swim a few laps in the slow lane at your local pool. The main focus for the first few weeks should be doing something EVERY day, rather than pushing yourself hard in order to see results more quickly. You’re adapting to a more active lifestyle, and you want it to stick. So, start off slowly.
2. Schedule Your Exercise
We all have busy lives these days. The pace is only getting faster. To stay up to speed, we need to decrease fatigue in order to have enough energy throughout our days to deal effectively with the multitude of tasks and information flying at us and prioritize accordingly. Exercise keeps your body and brain fit and active, so that they are energetically ready to jump into high gear at the drop of a hat. If you say to yourself, “I’ll exercise later today or at some point this week”, there is a much higher chance that you won’t! You must assign a time slot in your day for your exercise activity, just like you would an appointment, and then stay consistent. It may work best to keep your exercise sessions at the same time each day, but you might experiment and see if varying the session times throughout the week is better for you. Either way, pencil them in.
3. Choose a Time of Day When You Feel Most Energized
If you are working up to an active lifestyle from a more sedentary one, you’ll be more likely to stick with it if you choose to do your exercise at a time of day when you tend to feel more awake and peppy. For me, there are two of these times: About an hour after I wake up and mid afternoon. These times may not be the same for you, but if possible, try to schedule your workouts and activity sessions when you feel most energized. During these times, you’ll likely be more talkative, more focused, and feel happier. Whenever you are able, go for a jog or a hike, or play some tennis at these times.
4. Drink Water!
The importance of water? This one is MAJOR! Fatigue can often be linked to chronic dehydration. Someone can be completely dehydrated and not even know it, not even feel thirsty. Often, a person will mistake thirst and dehydration as hunger, and put more food and calories into a body that really just needs way more water. The digestive system, the brain, and all other body systems slow down substantially when there is not enough water. These systems will stop functioning optimally and the mind will feel dull and sluggish and the body will feel tired and listless when it is dehydrated.
To effectively decrease fatigue, drink 8-10 full glasses of WATER every day. Two good practices for drinking water?
If you follow just this one tip religiously, you should feel a big rise in your daily energy levels!
5. Eat Small Meals
We’ve all heard this one before for weight loss, and it’s doubly helpful for decreasing fatigue and keeping your energy level on a more even keel throughout your day. It takes lots of energy to digest food, so the more you ingest, the harder your system has to work. Our bodies use only so many calories at a given time, so to use them efficiently, you want to eat only as many as your body will need in the next two to three hours. Anything more than that, and the calories are converted to fat. So, every time you eat more calories than necessary at a meal, you are zapping your energy and weighing down your system.
6. Eat Breakfast
Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism for the day and gives you the energy boost you need to put a little pep in your step. Upon waking drink 8 oz of purified water, then 30 to 60 minutes later, scramble a couple of eggs and toast a slice of whole grain bread, or stove-top cook some oats and add a few blueberries, or cut up some berries, peaches, apples and bananas and throw them into plain yogurt with a teaspoon of raw honey! YUM. That'll start you off right.
7. Go to Sleep Early and at the Same Time Each Night
The importance of getting eight hours of sleep each night–not much more or less–cannot be overstated when it comes to feeling better and more energized in your life. Sleep is a renewal system that let’s your body and mind recover from stress that is accumulated throughout your day. If you don’t get enough or the quality of sleep is inadequate, you will not function optimally. Your focus and mood will suffer, and you will not feel as enthusiastic about yourself or your life.
Quality of sleep depends on many factors. Two of the most important of these factors is going to bed early and going to bed at the same time each night.
The sooner after the sun sets that you go to sleep, the closer to your natural circadian rhythm you are, and the more fully your body will be able to replenish itself. Between 10pm and 11pm is a good time for going to sleep. This lets you wake up with the sun rise and feel fully rested.
Hitting the sack at the same time each night allows your body to create its own clock that regulates its functions more efficiently. If you’re always going to bed at different times, your body is constantly trying to adjust in order to find homeostasis, and all those continual adjustments take lots of energy. Insufficient sleep and poor sleep habits are often overlooked as causes of fatigue. In order to live life to the fullest and participate actively, you need to cherish your sleep and form positive habits around the ritual.
8. Do What Makes You Feel Great!
Discovering your “happy place” with regard to exercise and physical activity is very important in maintaining the active lifestyle and decreasing fatigue. If you’re bored with the gym, or you think you run funny, you are going to be preoccupied with these distractions and eventually falter on your commitment to stay physical.
What you want is to find two to three activities that you are quite happy doing and that help pull you out of your mind, or at least generate highly positive thoughts or ideas for you. For me, hiking alone or with one other friend tends to be a very mellow, engaging, and positive experience, as well as rollerblading with headphones, or playing tennis. On the other hand, staring at the TV on a treadmill under florescent lights at the gym tends to bore me and I feel more like a rat in a wheel. Perhaps the gym suits you just fine, or group classes or team sports stimulate you more. Whatever your pleasure, it should be just that–pleasurable–if it is going to stick.
Now that you know a few great ways to decrease fatigue, adopting a more active lifestyle does not have to be brutally painful, dull, or even uncomfortable. Do what feels good, experiment, explore, be playful, and stay consistent. By starting slow, scheduling time for physical activity each day, exercising when you have naturally higher energy, eating small meals, including breakfast, implementing positive sleep habits, and doing activities you truly enjoy, you will begin to cherish your higher and higher levels of physical activity and fitness in your re-energized life!
You’re on your way to well-being, lower stress levels, peace of mind, better sleep and sex, sharper focus, and tons more energy! The benefits are truly endless, and a little effort goes a very long way. So get up, don’t think so much, and–to borrow Nike’s slogan–JUST DO IT!
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