Boost Energy & Fight Fatigue With Exercise

Have you been feeling tired and “run down” lately?

Believe it or not, a simple walk may be better than a nap for boosting energy and fighting fatigue.

Clip Art Graphic of a Fire Cartoon CharacterRecent studies suggests that regular exercise can actually increase energy levels, even among people suffering from chronic medical conditions associated with fatigue, such as cancer and heart disease. Contrary to popular belief, researchers say expending energy by engaging in regular exercise may pay off with increased levels of energy in the long run.

“A lot of times when people are fatigued, the last thing they want to do is exercise,” says researcher Patrick O’Connor, PhD, in a news release. “But if you’re physically inactive and fatigued, being just a bit more active will help,” says O’Connor, who is the co-director of the exercise psychology laboratory at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.

“We live in a society where people are always looking for the next sports drink, energy bar, or cup of coffee that will give them the extra edge to get through the day,” says researcher Tim Puetz, PhD, also with the University of Georgia. “But it may be that lacing up your tennis shoes and getting out and doing some physical activity every morning can provide that spark of energy that people are looking for.”

Exercise Boosts Energy

Over the years, many studies have shown that sedentary people who start a regular exercise walking-character2program experience an increase in energy levels, although researchers say few studies have quantified those effects.

In this current study, which has been published in Psychological Bulletin, the researchers analyzed 70 studies on exercise and fatigue involving more than 6,800 people.

“More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing… That sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise,” O’Connor comments. “It’s a very consistent effect.”

The results show that regular exercise increases energy and reduces fatigue.

It was shown that the average effect was greater than the improvement from using stimulant medications, which included the ones being used for ‘attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’ (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy.

Researchers claim that nearly every group that was studied — from healthy adults — to cancer patients — and even those with such chronic conditions as diabetes and heart disease — actually benefited from exercise.

Need A Quick Energy Boost – The Natural Way?

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Need A Quick Energy Boost – The Natural Way?

Need a quick energy boost — the natural way?

exerciseTry a few of these simple stretches during your “empty” moments, such as waiting for the printer or microwave. Eventually you will see your strength and flexibility improve.

Easy exercises can prevent problems and allow your body to do the work you ask it to do. You will even feel a boost of energy! You can do these exercises at your desk or just about anywhere throughout your day. The more often you do them, the better you will feel. You can even time your exercises to something you do frequently, like using the printer. While waiting, you can do a few exercises and make use of empty time. This will also help establish a good regular exercise habit!

Stretching brings nutrients to your muscles and relieves tension. It increases the feeling of well-being and improves flexibility. When possible, take breaks away from the computer and stretch whatever area feels tight. Stretch slowly without bouncing, and gradually increase the stretch to your tolerance. You should not stretch into pain.
Strengthening keeps muscles strong and helps to prevent any future problems. After exercising, you should pay close attention to how your body feels, and ask your physiotherapist to explain anything you don’t understand. Awareness of your body’s pain signals can help prevent injury as well as help recover from it.

The following is a suggested list of helpful exercises targeting several areas of the body.

Modify each exercise to your comfort level and discontinue any exercise that makes you feel worse. These exercises are most effective when done multiple times throughout the day. They make excellent stretch breaks at work.

Neck

  • Neck rotation: Sit or stand up straight. Turn your head from side to side without moving your shoulders or upper back. Hold 3 to 5 seconds — repeat 3 to 5 times each side.
  • Shoulder rolls: Move your shoulders up and backward in a circle — Repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • Chin tucks: Sit up tall and look straight ahead. Slowly tuck your chin in towards you (like making a double chin).  Hold 5 to 10 seconds — then relax your chin.

Upper Back

  • Shoulder blade pinch: With your arms by your side, bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Squeeze your shoulder blades together downward and backward. Do not let your low back arch or your head move forward. Hold 5 to 10 seconds — repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • Pectoral (chest) stretch: Place one forearm against a wall or door. The elbow should be level with the shoulder. Turn your body away from your arm. You should feel a stretch at the front of your shoulder and into the chest. Hold 20 to 30 seconds. — Repeat 1 to 2 times each side.

Lower Back & Legs

  • Abdominals: Sit with your buttocks against the back of a chair and tighten your abdominal muscles by pulling them toward your spine (flatten them and avoid pushing them outward). Keep your chest relaxed and continue to breathe normally while you hold the abdominals tight for 10 seconds — Repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • Hamstring stretch: Sit with your buttocks against the back of the chair, straighten your knee and feel the stretch in the back of your leg. To increase the stretch, lift your toes toward you. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds — Repeat 1 to 2 times each leg.
  • Low back extension: Stand up with your feet apart and place your palms on your lower back. Gently bend backwards, letting your back arch a comfortable amount. Pause 2 to 3 seconds — repeat 1 to 3 times.

Arms & Hands

  • Wrist extensor stretch: Hold your arm straight in front of you, palm down, and bend your wrist down. With your other hand over the knuckles, gently pull the hand down until you feel a stretch in the top of the wrist and forearm. To increase the stretch, make a relaxed fist. Hold 5 to 10 seconds — repeat 2 to 3 times each side.
  • Wrist flexor stretch: Hold your arm straight out in front of you, palm up, and bend your wrist back with fingers pointing down. With your other hand, gently pull the fingers back to increase the stretch. Hold 5 to 10 seconds — repeat 2 to 3 times.

Cardiovascular Exercise:after-exercise

Finally, it is important to find some time 2 to 3 times a week to do 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. Make it fun! Getting the heart rate up improves circulation and gets important nutrients to all the different parts of our bodies. This promotes stress reduction, body weight regulation, and quality sleep. You will also be helping your body keep fit for life!

Boost Energy & Fight Fatigue With Exercise

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Source: © MediResource Inc.

The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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