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LOW ENERGY? DO THE WORKOUT!

A PERSONAL ANECDOTE

A few days ago, I woke up with low energy and the beginnings of a summer cold. My practice had been to do a 30-minute workout every morning before breakfast. But I had no interest in dealing with weights or similar challenges at that time.

So, I took the day off and relished the rest time. I did the same the next day also. On the third day, I was again tempted to forego my workout. I was becoming lazy. I was feeling okay and was looking for excuses.

I decided to do a workout, though with lesser resistance or fewer reps in some cases. I had remembered the advice of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would always finish a workout if he was able to get out of bed and stand up.

This is not to suggest that we should work out when we are really sick, in which case we would be well advised to see a doctor. It is only to say that we can still exercise productively when lethargy sets in. Our vitality need not be 100% to maintain our exercise schedules.

This experience led me to an even firmer conviction that achieving physical fitness lies primarily in the realm of motivation.

REGAINING ENERGY

Common sense dictates that running 10 miles or beginning a 3 hour high intensity workout make very little sense when we are feeling sluggish or indifferent.

Drinking lots of water will help, as will eating healthy carbohydrates. Also, a study by the University of Georgia tells us that we can increase energy and decrease fatigue by simply participating in consistent low-intensity exercise.

Psychology professor Robert E. Thayer says that “Once you actually start moving around – even just getting up off the couch and walking around the room – the more you will want to move, and, ultimately, the more energy you will feel”.

Nutrition advisor Samantha Heller tells us that “Contrary to popular belief, exercising doesn’t make you tired – it literally creates energy in your body. Your body rises up to meet the challenge for more energy by becoming stronger”. She continues “For example, the more you exercise aerobically, the more mitochondria the body makes to produce more energy to meet your needs”.

To increase energy without becoming fatigued, experts say:

  • Take a 10-15 minute walk (I do this every morning before my workouts. For fresh air and energy, not so much for cardio).
  • Exercise in your low to moderate heart rate range
  • In addition to walking – consider yoga, tai chi, Pilates and resistance training with slow deliberate motions
  • Play music while training and seeking “calm energy”
  • Even intense exercise will reduce tension and provide energy after an hour of muscle recovery
  • Eat fruit before beginning exercise
  • Drink water before, during and after workouts

OVERCOMING WORKOUT INERTIA

I am thinking of inertia as different from low energy or feeling sick – more like laziness. This is a disinclination to make a move. My recent experience included an initial summer cold, followed by a tendency to lounge around past the need to do so.

Ms. Lorena Knapp (lorenaknapp.com) has published an article that I find very insightful. I am paraphrasing her points below. She gives us 7 “rock solid steps to overcome inertia and implement change”:

  1. Start small. Just get going. Go for a brief walk. Replace soda with a glass of water.
  2. Create a routine. Make time for yourself. Daily light exercise is generally better than infrequent large blocks of time for workouts.
  3. Be specific. Decide in advance exactly what you expect from yourself. (My choice is to list my workout sets and/or cardio minutes in advance each day).
  4. Create consequences. Positive consequences generally work better. (In the past, I would get a massage after every 10 pounds lost)
  5. Believe in your willpower. Your brain believes what you tell it.
  6. Don’t worry if you miss a day. Start over and recommit. Seek progress, not perfection. Be sure that “missing a day” does not become a habit.
  7. Enlist support. A supportive community or accountability partner will keep you going. (I remember stopping smoking 55 years ago in S. Korea as an army officer. I told everyone in my detachment that I was going off cigarettes forever. For me, this did not add undue pressure. It helped me to achieve my goal).

At this point, I don’t work out in a group. I do it at home by myself. The motivational message below is meaningful to me.

RESOURCES

(As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases). Take a look at the relevant Amazon links below and scroll around from there:

Books

Videos

Here are a few non-Amazon options for the health minded:

CONCLUDING

Like most of my posts, this article arose from a personal issue. I can best be informative when I am learning something new. Or remembering some past event that was a learning experience.

To simplify – there is nothing complicated, time-consuming or expensive about setting up and maintaining a workout or exercise routine. Motivation to do so is the essential ingredient, without which nothing happens and with which we may transform our lives. At least our bodies.

My practice is to take 30 minutes each day to workout before breakfast. If I calculated correctly, this is 2.8% of my day. I still have 97.2 % to do other things.

Not such a great investment of time! Yet it is an important 30 minutes in providing satisfaction physically and mentally. I would recommend it!

Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below.

Be well and stay safe!

Richard

2 Comments

  1. Hi Richard,

    What a positive and uplifting site. I agree with you completely that maintaining one’s health with proper exercise along with nutrition is the way to go. I appreciate that you address overcoming the inertia of starting as everyone goes through that.

    I’m definitely taking your advice in this and working this into my lifestyle.

    Sammy

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