Can Working Out Make You MORE Energized? The Science Behind Exercise and Energy
Conventional wisdom dictates the more energy you use, the more tired you’ll become. After all, if you play basketball all afternoon on a summer day in Phoenix, you’ll probably sleep like a baby as soon as your head hits the pillow. Yet, this conventional wisdom isn’t always correct, as working out can actually make you more energized.
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Why does working out make you more energized? What are the best exercises to boost energy?
Improved Cardiovascular Efficiency
The Mayo Clinic notes that exercise and physical activity deliver nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and help improve cardiovascular efficiency. This boost to your heart and lungs provides more energy.
Boost to Neurotransmitters
As Science Daily explains, studies have shown increases in energy-producing neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in the brains of animals that are placed in regular exercise conditions. While you’re not running in a little wheel, it stands to reason humans share a similar experience.
More Mitochondria = More Energy
Just reading the word “mitochondria” may conjure up nightmares visions of that high school biology teacher. You know, the one who didn’t realize you had six other classes and a job outside of his 10 hours of homework each week. Fortunately, however, mitochondria is about to become a more positive term in your mind.
According to WebMD, mitochondria are small organs located within our cells that “work like tiny power plants to produce energy.” The more aerobic exercise you engage in, the more mitochondria your body produces to meet its increased energy demands. Thus, WebMD notes, “…regular cardiovascular exercise actually creates more available energy for your body.”
Strive for “Calm” Energy
According to WebMD, many people have “tense energy”. In this state, they get a lot of work done, but quickly move into tense-tiredness, which is often associated with depression.
Instead of going this route, WebMD recommends aiming for “calm energy.” This is a combination of high mental and physical energy with low physical tension. It provides a more long-lasting level of energy.
How to Boost Calm Energy
Image credit: Наталья Видович
Moderate exercise to boost calm energy. Examples include:
- A 10 to 15-minute walk
- Resistance training with slow, deliberate motions
And, WebMD notes that eating fruit just before you start can boost energy levels both during and after you exercise, as it provides extra nutrients (and thus energy). Drink plenty of water, as well, as dehydration is a major cause of fatigue.
Contrary to popular belief, working out actually boosts energy when done properly. It enhances cardiovascular efficiency and increases neurotransmitter levels, both of which have been shown to improve energy. And, your body rises to the challenge by generating more mitochondria – your body’s “tiny power plants.”
Finally, remember to strive for calm energy versus tense energy, as it provides a longer-lastingimpact. A short walk, yoga session or any of the other mentioned tactics should suffice. Give it a shot, keep track of what works, and see if you can boost your energy levels naturally!
Author bio: John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet, a site that helps you save money by “doing the homework for you.”