When you’re fatigued and exercise is the last thing you feel like doing, that’s probably when you need it most. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to be a difficult sweat session to reap all the energy boosting benefits. Follow Libby's simple tricks and workout plan to boost your energy with exercise.
Studies have repeatedly shown that just 10-20 minutes of low intensity exercise will reduce fatigue much more effectively than a cup of coffee, and even more effectively than a longer, more intense workout.
This means that simply going for a slow walk, cycle or stretch can totally transform your mood and productivity. And the more consistent you are, the better the long-term effects.
Why? Because getting your body moving not only kickstarts your metabolic system, it also enhances blood flow to help your body carry oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue, which improves your body’s ability to produce more energy. The result is a more sprightly you, better moods and a more focused and productive mental state.
In the longer term, increased exercise means better quality muscle tissue, higher cardio fitness and better circulation, improved mindset and can even help balance your hormones and help you sleep better, all of which are great ingredients for boosting overall energy.
If you read that and thought, “I want a piece of that action!” then read on for my simplest tricks to boost energy through exercise – plus a one-minute workout you can do anytime you need a super speedy wake-up call!
Libby’s workouts to wake up:
- As a basic guide, plan at least three 20-minute cardio workouts into your week, and aim for 2.5 hours of movement overall.
- Take a 10-minute walk at lunch time – it will make you so much more productive for the rest of the afternoon!
- Start every morning with a little bending and stretching; touch your toes, reach up overhead, stand tall and rotate your spine a little, pop your hands behind your head and open up your chest, do a few side-bends. Do these stretches again every time you feel yourself fading throughout the day!
- When you hit the gym, don’t just do exercises that move up and down, like squats and running. Include movements that engage your body in multiple directions and have you moving laterally, rotating your body, stretching and bending, shifting weight away from your mid-line, as well as combinations of exercises that make you think as you move – this is the best way to get your brain in the game, hydrate your connective tissue and boost circulation. Yoga and pilates, or working with a holistic trainer who specialises in functional movement patterns is a great way to get started.
- Grab a skipping rope and when you need a boost, rep out a couple of hundred jumps. Bouncing motions are one of the best ways to hydrate your connective tissue, warm up your muscles and boost circulation, all of which wake you up and get you focused. No rope? No problem, you can jump up and down on the spot anywhere, anytime and get the same effect.
- Put in your headphones and walk, run, or bounce to your favourite pump-up song! This always works to skyrocket motivation in the middle of a work day, or before a longer workout.
- Don’t want to get sweaty? Exercise your mind instead of your body. Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths, take 5 minutes out for meditation, or grab a 15-20 minute power nap. Ever better if you follow it up with a quick stride around the office!
- Turn your energy upside-down. Literally! Performing a downward dog will help boost blood flow to the brain and boost energy instantly. If you can handstand, this does the trick too. Steer clear of these if you know you suffer from high blood pressure though.
- Grab a friend, pass a ball in the great outdoors. This is the all-time hat trick of things that will boost energy for hours! Social interaction, time in the outdoors and movement are the three things proven to wake you up most effectively. Combine them all with a 10-minute play at lunch time with a colleague, or before/after school with your kids for an all-time energy boosting workout!
- Still short on time? Try my 1-minute energy boosting workout video for a fast-paced wake up call!
And don’t forget nutrition…
Sugar, refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, sweets), alcohol, deep fried foods, baked and packaged snacks will all destroy your energy levels over the course of a day. Make sure you’re reaching for proteins and healthy fats, fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as a few complex carbohydrates (like sweet potato or pumpkin, brown rice, quinoa) for maximum energy gains, and stay hydrated with plenty of water and no more than 1-3 cups of not-too-milky coffee. If you need a treat, reach for 80-90% dark chocolate, which has been proven to fire up the brain!
I hope this puts a little more bounce in your step!