Whether you've had a busy day at work or you're dying for the sweet embrace of your couch after college, some days it's just impossible to motivate yourself to exercise. And plus, you're wrecked – surely staying at home will help boost your energy?
It might seem hard to believe, but exercise is far more likely to wake you up and leave you feeling energised than a night of Netflix and comfort food.
The key is to tailor your exercise depending on why exactly you're feeling tired and worn out.
Here are a few guidelines…
1. If you're… tired from sitting at your desk all day
Short, intense exercise with intervals. Running, cycling or swimming are all great options here. Go as fast and hard as you can for 30 seconds, and then return to a brisk pace for 1 – 2 minutes before repeating.
Even a small amount of high-intensity training could boost your energy more than relaxing for the evening. Scientists believe this is because physical exercise alters the levels of energy-pumping chemicals like dopamine and serotonin in our brains. Whatever the technical explanation behind it, you'll feel great afterwards, we promise!
2. If you're… low in energy because you haven't exercised in WAY too long (or ever)
A brisk walk or cycle for 30 minutes.
There's no doubt that regular exercise has a very positive effect on our energy levels. If you're constantly tired in the evenings although you're getting enough sleep, your lifestyle could be the culprit. Walking or cycling are easy forms of exercise to begin with – they're cost free and don't involve committing to a six-month gym membership or a series of classes. Just wrap up, get outside and get going – you'll feel all the better for it!
3. If you're… feeling drained after going too hard at the gym all week
Gentle exercise like a cycle or a chilled yoga class.
The main reason that excessive training can lead to feelings of tiredness is that you're not giving your body enough time to recover. Even the best athletes allow for rest days and recovery periods between workouts, so don't feel like you're failing by skipping a day. Keep your energy levels up with some easy, fun exercise that won't wear you out any further. You'll be back on track in a day or two!
4. If you're… struggling to keep your eyes open after a sleepless night
Resting, resting, resting!
If you're truly tired from lack of sleep, heavy exercise isn't going to help. Get yourself to bed early or take an afternoon nap, and hit the gym later or tomorrow, when you're feeling refreshed and focused again.