I feel the need to write this post because I don't think people truly understand just how fantastic exercise can be for one's energy levels. I see people on my Facebook feed alone willing to spend over a hundred dollars a month on some supplement that promises energy--it's cheaper than a cup of coffee!--among a myriad of other things. But exercise is free! And with that extra money you didn't spend on a supplement, you can buy whole, nutritious foods, which can also contribute to one's energy levels.
In an article titled "Exercise as a Cure for Fatigue and to Boost Energy Levels," Marion Webb writes that "researchers at the University of Georgia found that sedentary, otherwise healthy adults who engaged in as little as 20 minutes of low-to-moderate aerobic exercise, three days a week for six consecutive weeks, reported feeling less fatigued and more energized." Low-to-moderate exercise can include a brisk walk. That's all! Everyone has 20 minutes to spare for this fantastic energy booster. (Now if you're otherwise unhealthy, such as those struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome, please consult a doctor.)
According to Webb, the reason exercise is able to increase energy levels is due to enhanced blood flow, thus facilitating the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue, thereby increasing energy output through the creation of more ATP (adenosine triphosate). The body then becomes a more efficient energy-producing machine; it just naturally adapts to imposed demands.
As a fibromyalgia sufferer, I do recall a time amidst a flare-up of this illness that I did have difficulties with my energy levels. Depression didn't make things easier, but at the time, I was doing less than 4 hours of ballet a week. However, I noticed that when I started doing ballet for about 7 hours a week, my flares died down, and I got my energy levels back. This isn't necessarily going to be the case for every fibromyalgia sufferer--or chronic illness sufferer in general. In fact, being able to exercise as much as I did is a privilege among fibro sufferers. What this does mean, however, is that it wouldn't hurt to increase the duration of your exercise if you're a generally healthy adult who suffers from fatigue not related to a medical condition. Of course, expending more energy during exercise doesn't necessarily mean feeling more energized. It's just what I had to do in order to combat the fatigue of fibromyalgia. Low-intensity exercise is generally enough to boost one's energy levels.
Even so, jumping into a regular exercise program is a process. There are certain steps you can take to work up to a satisfactory amount of exercise per week.
ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, nutrition coach, young adult author, moody ballerina.
I help people perform without pain.
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The views expressed on this blog are entirely my own. Any advice I offer is not to be taken as medical advice. If you think you have contraindications to exercise, please see your physician before implementing any sample workout plans I present on this blog.
All images are either my own, from Canva, or Creative Commons