You always read about exercises that will give you six-pack abs or tone your arms, but what if you’re just looking for a burst of energy? Even though most succumb to the temptation of coffee and sugar, as it turns out, exercise can provide natural energy like nothing else.
While it may sound counterintuitive, exercise actually boosts your energy rather than depleting it. And this isn’t some outsider’s opinion—numerous studies confirm it.
One study of over 6,800 people showed the vast difference in energy between active and inactive people. "Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise."
Not only did people have more energy, but they had more energy than they would with stimulant medications (like the kind used to treat ADHD).
But, let’s be honest, some exercises leave you feeling wiped out. So the question is, what are some simple workouts that will boost your energy through the roof?
Try one of these, and see for yourself.
If you haven’t started doing yoga yet, you’re missing out. A holistic body exercise, yoga taps into parts of your body that would otherwise go un-stretched—and gives you a powerful amount of energy when you’re finished. There’s even a term for it: the “Yoga High”.
The Natural Health Advisory put out a study on the effects of yoga, finding that those who engaged in yoga for six weeks had significantly more energy and less fatigue than those who took daily long walks for the same period of time.
Subjects also had “significantly improved mood and well-being”, and were “more clear-minded, composed, and confident, and reported increased life purpose and satisfaction.” They also reported “significantly less fatigue and tiredness symptoms as well as less anxiety and anger.” That’s a pretty powerful list of benefits.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and is one of the best exercises for you. Period. By going all out for short periods of time, your body gets a superior workout in a fraction of the time.
And it gives you a silly amount of energy.
Why is this? HIIT works to increase your mitochondria, and that’s a pretty big deal. Your mitochondria are those things that give you energy for moving, thinking, and digesting. The more mitochondria you have swimming around, the less lethargic you feel and the more you want to get out and do things.
It goes even further. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research finds that, unlike regular cardio, where you do the same thing at the same intensity for extended periods of time, HIIT seriously increases both testosterone and GLUT4. This, in turn, boosts the body’s energy, both immediately after the workout and for the long term.
Running is our most primal exercise (other than perhaps throwing a big rock). Everyone remembers hearing their mom yelling, “No running!” As kids, we ran whenever we had the opportunity, or for no apparent reason at all. Have you ever wondered why?
Some experts believe it’s because we’re programmed to find that running feels good. Based on what we know about human evolution, this makes sense. Without a strong, intense drive to chase down a woolly mammoth, we’d never have made it as a species. And that genetic inheritance lives in our cells even today.
There’s also an unexpected reason why hitting “runner’s high” gives you an extra boost in energy. Running does more than just release endorphins—it also releases something called endocannabinoids. Translation: runner’s high is similar to the body’s internal reaction to marijuana (or cannabis).
But while marijuana inhibits dopamine production and makes you sleepy, running does just the opposite. It provides you with a burst of natural energy (not to mention a higher metabolism and a stronger body).
Still Feeling Tired?
If you’re constantly complaining about working too much, being tired all the time, or if just don’t feel like going out on a Friday night (but your SO does)—now you have no excuses. There are simple, actionable ways for you to increase your energy levels.
None of these three exercises require expensive machinery or even a lot of time. They just require a little bit of effort.