Of all the excuses we use when it comes to finding a good reason to skip a workout, “I’m too tired” is probably the most common. Maybe that’s because it seems the most logical. Exercise requires energy, so of course we don’t want to work out when we’re feeling drained. But what we often forget is that a little bit of activity can actually help to boost our energy levels, so the “logic” we use to justify the “too tired” excuse is actually pretty flawed. So, go ahead and toss the “tired” excuse right out the window. It might be hard to get started at first, but you’ll definitely feel much better after your work out is done. These are the exercises experts recommend most.
“The best suggestion I can make is group fitness,” says Danielle Girdano, certified master personal trainer and the president of D’Fine Your Health. “This can be fun motivating and not too strenuous, depending on the actual class.”
Often relaxing and always low-impact, Yoga is one of the low-key group exercise classes that Girdano recommends most and it was also a top pick for certified personal trainer & registered yoga teacher Julia Chan. “It’s a great way to tune into mind/body connection and to breathe," she said. “Starting with sun salutations is a great way to energize the body… next thing you know it may end up begin a power yoga session.”
Girdano also suggested water aerobics as another calming, low-impact group exercise class that might be just the thing you need when you’re feeling too tired to exercise.
Girdano also supports the advice offered by NASM certified personal trainer Marty Beene mentioned earlier. “Just walk,” she said. “It’s underrated, but the old standby holds true. Getting a quick walk in is always a great option and when the weather is especially nice it can boost your mood!”
“I would suggest foam rolling and/or mobility movements,” said Bruce Kelly, certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner of Fitness Together Media. “Especially those that concentrate on the hips, ankles and thoracic spine. Neither one is very stressful but both can contribute to improved movement and tissue quality so you are getting something worthwhile done.”
“Take a nap and do a workout in your head, because you probably need the rest more,” says Clint Fuqua, a certified health coach and personal trainer with over 20 years of experience. Chanel Collette Carter, ISSA certified personal trainer notes the importance of rest and recovery adding, “As a trainer, when I have a client who is tired or exhausted I typically advise them to skip the training session. I recommend the client to use that workout time towards taking a breather. Ninety percent of the time people find themselves stuck in a training plateau because they have not allowed for adequate rest.” She continues, “If a client listens to my advice on changing nothing in their program but makes sure to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, often the scale starts going in the desired direction.”
“A simple circuit of four bodyweight moves done 10 times each and repeated three times total would make for a great 15-minute session of activity,” says Ashley Pitt, NESTA certified personal trainer and Les Mills certified group fitness instructor. She suggests avoiding heavy weight lifting and high impact moves and focusing on less intense exercises like hip bridges, “supermans,” and tricep dips. “These moves are functional, multi-joint and designed to strengthen the body without any impact at all,” she said. “After the workout, I guarantee that tired person has a little pep in their step.”
Chan says that TRX training is another great low-impact workout that can be easily completed even when you’re tired. “It can be adjusted to the level you want to work out,” she said. “And it’s great for supporting you through the exercises to keep you safe.” She also likes it because if you feel up to it, you can easily add jumps or more dynamic movements in order to get your heart pumping a bit faster.
“Taking a hip hop or any other sort of dance class is a great way to spark up energy levels,” says Chan. “Plus, you're dancing and releasing stumped energy so it won't feel too much like a workout. More like just having fun.”
Lisa Reed, certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness LLC suggests trying a Tabata workout when you’re tired because it’s short and sweet. “The best thing about the Tabata workout is that you can perform these short, intense routines with your own bodyweight in the comfort of your own home,” she said. A typical Tabata workout consists of eight intense exercises. You’ll perform four rounds of each exercise for 20 seconds each with just 10 seconds of rest in between each 20-second bout. “Tabata raises your heart rate, pumps up your muscles and increases your fitness levels in just 4 minutes,” Reed said.