Deciding to go to the gym can often be the most difficult decision you make all day. There are simply too many variables that affect your energy levels – tough day at work, lack of sleep, still recovering from an injury.
Skipping a workout may be a good idea sometimes but more often than not, we are just complaining. Go to sleep if it is “within 2-3 hours of your bedtime [because] exercise would then disrupt proper rest,” according to Melanie Jordan, Certified Health and Wellness Coach of YourHealthyLifeMadeEasy.com. To help you decide, ask yourself how much you’ve been exercising this week or whether you’ll regret skipping the gym today. Better yet, try to think of how to reward yourself for actually sticking to your plans.
You’ve heard it many times: Doing anything is a lot better than doing nothing at all. Try to keep your body moving if you really don’t have a legitimate reason to sit on the couch and watch Netfix for hours on end.
Sitting all day shuts off enzymes in your muscles that are responsible for fat burning, according to a study done by the University of Missouri at Columbia. If that’s not a reason to hit the gym now, you might as well just give up. “You’re being whiny when you are making excuses that have nothing to do with true physical exhaustion like ‘I want to lay on my sofa and catch this episode of my TV show even though I’m already set it to record,’” Jordan says.
In this case, Jordan says she like to remind people of “why they normally choose to work out and the benefits they experience as well as any other overall improvements to their health and wellness they have as goals that working out supports such as weight management and stress management.”
One thing you can do, as recommended by Jordan, is try to increase your activity during the day to recharge your body without a formal workout like “walk up and down the escalator at the mall and don’t just stand there for the ride.”
Research suggests that you can work out for a few minutes every day and achieve the same results as if you spent an hour at the gym. It all depends on what kind of exercises you’re putting your body through. Even single session of moderate-intensity exercise can boost energy significantly. Exercise increases the levels of dopamine and serotonin (the “happy” neurotransmitter) in the brain.
All of this doesn’t change the fact that sometime people “just don’t feel like it.” That’s perfectly normal but staying active is important. Lack of exercise can make you feel even more tired. “The human body was made to move—move it and reap the rewards!” Jordan says.
Here is a list of workouts you can do when you’re tired and still have the same effect.
1. Join a class
Have you done Zumba? This may be a good excuse to catch up with friends or make new ones. If Zumba sounds scary to you, don’t worry. Join any kind of group fitness activity. It’s great for motivation, too. Group exercises are usually not that vigorous.
2. Walk fast
You can do it on a treadmill or outside. People don’t usually associate walking with exercise because they do it all the time, but it is. Your body is active and burning energy. If you’re at the gym, increase the incline a little bit for a more intense (but short) workout. According to Jordan, if you had to work out just one part of your body when you’re tired, it would be your feet. “Walk, dance, etc. just to get moving.”