Many of us want to incorporate exercise into our daily lives but we’re so tired by the end of the day, that it just seems like another form of stress.
Stress is cumulative. It’s a systemic (whole body) response to mental, emotional, and physical exertion. Exercise is a form of stress, but we intentionally use it to our benefit to be able to handle greater mechanical stress. We can only handle so much stress, however, no matter what the source. For example, it’s next to impossible to be the CEO of a company, an Olympic athlete, and raise four kids without experiencing some degree of burnout.
It’s important to get regular physical activity, though. This can obviously be a problem if your work doesn’t involve much physical activity but tires you out.
If you’re tired at the end of the day, you might want to try taking a half hour or so to completely rest. Lay down, turn off the lights, clear your mind and your environment of any noise or distraction, and just be there. Some call this meditation; you can think of it as relaxation or just decompressing.
I wouldn’t suggest artificial stimulants such as coffee, as these only decrease your perception of fatigue; they don’t reduce your need for rest, if that makes sense. Exercise, however, is a natural stimulant. I can tell you there were many times when I was sitting in my car in the gym parking lot thinking, “maybe I’ll skip today”. But realizing that my body needs movement, I take the hardest step which is walking through the door, and half an hour into the workout I’m feeling great thinking, “was that really me that wanted to skip today?!”
Obviously, if the rest of your life is stressful or exhausting then you might need to limit the duration of your workouts, but the good news is that you can get great results in just 1 or 2 high intensity sets of any exercise. Exercise also increases the quality of your sleep, so even if you want to crash at the end of the day, “pumping out” a few sets will help you sleep restfully and release tension from the body. You just need to overcome that barrier of getting started, but once you get the ball rolling, things will flow with less resistance.
Do this often enough, and you might even find your available energy increasing.