You’ve spent a lazy Sunday glued to the couch, binging on Netflix and you feel ex-HAAUSTED!
Why? You’ve been conserving energy; surely you should be full of beans?
It’s a little counter-intuitive but scientific studies have shown us for some time that exercising (i.e. expending energy) actually makes you feel more energetic. Many people who exercise regularly will be aware of this effect. OK so they might not be bouncing off the walls straight after an hour of squash but by the next day they’ll be feeling more rested, energised and clear-headed.
What is going on?
You would have heard of endorphins? These naturally produced neurotransmitters not only make us feel good but also give us energy. Shortages in their production have been linked to problems like insomnia. Exercise is a proven way to release endorphins: energising the body, reducing stress, helping you sleep and lowering your ability to feel pain. Studies have shown exercise can be just as effective as anti-depressants at treating mild depression; proof that exercise makes you feel good not just physically but mentally and, when you feel good, you naturally tend to have more energy.
Most of know that regular exercise helps lower the risk of heart disease. This is because when you exercise you are working out your cardiovascular system, and strengthening your heart (which after all, is a muscle). Strengthening your heart and lungs so they work more efficiently naturally gives you more energy to take on the day. The same thing applies to the rest of your body. Building up your muscles through exercise means you feel less tired when you are required to use them.
When you exercise, you are often engaging in several activities that will help energise you at the same time. Whether it’s getting your daily does of Vitamin C while running in the park, or the social interactions you enjoy while playing a team sport, you are doing things that give you a boost much more than staring at a screen ever will. As well as this, a side-effect of exercising regularly is that it can motivate you to adopt healthier habits in other areas of your life. For instance if you’re a pack-a-day smoker and you start jogging regularly, when you realise the impairment you suffer as a result of the fags you’re more likely to cut back. It’s a positive feedback loop, start exercising, get more energy and then be inspired to make other changes in your life which then further up your energy levels!
Word of caution
While appropriate exercise is all-round good for your health, it is not a cure-all. If you have been suffering from fatigue for a significant period of time and don’t know why, it’s always best to talk to a doctor and make sure nothing else is wrong. Having said that, we suspect there’s a lot of people out there who wouldn’t know themselves if they just established a regular exercise routine. It can really change your life and, so far as we know Netflix isn’t going anywhere!