Generate Endless Energy – Naturally (Part Six – Exercise)

running woman with arm band- Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

Now, that we’ve discussed energy management and sleep, it’s time to get some exercise.

Exercise has a seemingly odd relationship with energy because despite the fact that you need it to exercise, it is a powerful tool for boosting your energy levels. On the other hand, there are few things which are more difficult to do with low energy than to go and workout.

If you already have low energy, you simply will not exercise. Nonetheless, exercise is one of the best ways to improve your sleep, raise your mood and boost your energy efficiency.

So, it’s important to look at how to exercise to generate energy. Additionally, we’ll also take a look at how to exercise when you have low energy as well. Let’s first talk about HIIT.

What Are the Benefits of HIIT?

If you are low on both energy and time, HIIT may be just what the doctor ordered for you. HIIT is a type of training that is perfect for this situation for two reasons.

  1. A HIIT workout doesn’t take very long. Hence, if you have low energy, you don’t need to try and encourage yourself to train for two hours. You can get a good workout in under ten minutes!
  2. What’s more, HIIT is highly effective at increasing your mitochondrial function. The mitochondria are the little ‘energy factories’ that live inside our cells. They convert glucose into ATP. We use that ATP to move our muscles and even to think. If you have more ATP in your system and your mitochondria are working better, you will have more focus, better mood, improved memory, healthier sleep and more energy for working out as a bonus.
  3. As an added bonus, HIIT is also very good for boosting your VO2 max which means maximal oxygen consumption. This is your body’s ability to acquire extra oxygen from the air and then use it. The better your VO2 max, the less out of breath you will likely become because it improves your endurance.
  4. Additionally, like all forms of cardiovascular exercise, HIIT will also improve your heart health and thus your circulation.

What exactly is HIIT?

Essentially, this stands for ‘High Intensity Interval Training‘ and describes a type of training that involves short periods of high exertion punctuated by short periods of active recovery.

If you go jogging for an hour, this is what you call ‘steady state cardio’. This type of exercise does have its merits and can be useful but it is less efficient than sprinting for 2 minutes and then jogging for 1 for a total of four reps. That’s what HIIT is all about.

A typical HIIT session then might last 20-30 minutes and involve periods of running or sprinting and periods of light jogging or slow walking.

If you only have four minutes to spare, then you can use the incredibly intensive ‘Tabata Workout‘ which would be considered the intermediate to advanced level of HIIT Cardio interval training.

Build up to the Tabata, because it is challenging. However, once you have the baseline fitness, you can move to it without harm. This style of training would be similar to sprinting for 20 seconds and resting for 10 for a total of 8 repetitions. It’s taxing but it’s highly effective.

If you do your HIIT outside, you’ll get the added benefit of fresh air and sunlight which will help you to sleep better. If you do this style of workout 4 times a week, you will see noticeable differences in your energy levels and physique in no time.

What If You Are Too Low on Energy?

HIIT is great for those short on energy and time because it only has to last 30 minutes max. This means you can always squeeze it in when you’re busy.

However, it’s still very intensive. You won’t always have the motivation to train like this when you’re feeling tired.

So, what’s the alternative?

Come up with an exercise you can enjoy. If you absolutely hate running, then try walking.

Running generates a quicker jolt of energy, but it also places more stress on the body from the impact on the joints. You may have to walk a bit further than run to get the same benefit, but it will be less taxing while accomplishing the same goal.

It’s also very good for a beginning regimen. Research has shown that either moderate-intensity walking or vigorous-intensity running produced similar reductions in risks for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and possibly coronary heart disease over the study’s six years.

The study also found that the more people walked or ran each week, the more their health benefits increased.

In fact, while both running and walking increase your overall health, fitness and energy, walking may actually help you lose more weight over the long run because running breaks down muscle, not fat after 30 minutes through a process called gluconeogenesis.

If you are going to generate more energy, less weight will help you. Otherwise, it’s like carry around a back pack all day. It’s going to be a drain on your energy.

So, if running or high aerobic exercise is not your cup of tea, plan out a nice walking route and begin a walking routine. For a free download on walking click here. This will give you the basics to get started.

It can be an enjoyable way to generate more fitness, energy and even lose some weight in the process.

The Right Shoes

Whether you are working out, walking or running,  it is important to make sure you invest in the right shoes. If you get a light, snug fitting shoe, it will make a big difference. You will feel much more light-footed, faster and generally more ‘springy’. This translates into more energy in the gym and on the roads which means better workouts and payoffs.

The right shoes will depend somewhat on your natural stride but it’s well worth looking into a minimalist shoe. Something like the Nike Free Run 5.0  or the Vibram Five Fingers have become popular choices in recent years.

These models allow your foot to move flexibly because they contort easily in all directions. They also allow your foot to bend easily making more use of your foot and leg muscles as you move. In turn, this helps generate the correct technique making a notable difference with less effort.

In the next post, we’ll continue with a few important principals to understand about exercise that you will find helpful.

Start at Part One  Go to Part Seven- Exercise- Part 2

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