May 2, 2019

Too Tired to Workout…C’mon Friend, Don’t be Lame

By Nikki G. Maples, Law Office of Nikki G. Maples, and member of the Austin Bar’s Health & Wellness Committee

I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to bailing on a workout because I feel too tired, too busy or…ahem…too lazy.  A break from exercise from time to time is completely normal and perfectly acceptable. It’s when the ‘I’m taking a break’ turns into ‘I haven’t exercised since 2005’ that it becomes a problem.  It’s a vicious cycle that happens to everyone, even the avid athlete. The struggle of balancing fatigue to the necessity of exercise is real.  By now, my readers should know that I’m big on tips because tips are short, they’re punchy, they’re convenient, and they feel attainable.

Too tired to work out? Consider these tips:

  • Shorten your workout. Instead of the 30-minute or one-hour workout, which can feel more like two hours after driving to the gym, parking, etc., aim for just 10 to 15 minutes. You could stand on your head for 10 minutes if your life depended on it.  The “experts” (whomever they may be) indicate that our bodies usually experience a rush of endorphins within 10 minutes of exercise. With that in mind, you may find that you feel like you can go longer than 10 to 15 minutes. I challenge you to go beyond your 15 minutes, maybe 17 minutes, or you could get froggy and go a full 20 or 30 minutes. If you feel that you cannot go beyond 10 minutes, then consider doing several 10-minute workouts throughout the day. Your brain needs this refresher, a simple little recharge. The point is that exercising for 10 minutes is doable.  It’s TEN minutes…don’t be lame, just do it.
  • Exercise in the morning. Even if you’re not a morning person, you can change that habit. It is all too easy to blame your fatigue on a hard day’s work. If a long, hard day is your habitual excuse, then it’s not your day that’s getting in the way – it’s you. Set your alarm, get up when it goes off (my husband would be shaking his head in disbelief that I am lecturing others to mind their morning alarm…just do as I say, not as I do, and you’ll be fine.). Yes, you’ll drag for a few minutes as you shuffle around your house trying to wake up. Prior planning is half the battle. Before going to bed, set out your workout clothes and sneakers so that you don’t have to think about it in the morning.
  • Sneaky exercise. Bored with the gym? Uninterested in the drive to the gym? Allow yourself a break from the sweat box and sneak in activity wherever and whenever possible. Park in the furthest spot from the grocery store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator – I promise that it will not kill you. Take a walk while you’re on a phone call. Again, it is perfectly fine to take a break from the monotony of your exercise routine, but do not…I repeat, DO NOT…become inactive.
  • Get more sleep – it matters! Getting back to the nuts and bolts of our middle school health class, the “experts” encourage seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Exercise promotes better and deeper sleep. However, I caution you about slipping into the excuse that you did not log your seven to nine hours and, therefore, must sleep longer instead of getting up and exercising. Just manage your day. As lawyers, we understand the importance of scheduling our professional obligations. Our health is no different, find a way to structure your day, including parent duties, household responsibilities, and SLEEP. It can be done!

When excusing exercise on the grounds of fatigue, ask yourself this question: Why am I so tired? Ponder the reasons for a while, then fix the sleep issue so you don’t have to choose between sleep and exercise. Is it the food that you’re consuming or the time of day in which it is being consumed? Are you on an electronic device too late which is stimulating your brain? Are you stressed or anxious about something?

A few more tips to combat the lazy and unmotivated feeling:

  1. Stick to 10s—10 pushups, 10 sit ups, 10 squats 10 minutes of jogging, etc.
  2. Stand up at least every hour of your day —remove thy buttocks from your chair and just move.
  3. Walk for at least 20 minutes each day.
  4. Workout at home— tricep dips on a dining chair, squats, lunges, anything.
  5. Unplug —turn off the devices and allow yourself to sleep (this is a hard one for me!).
  6. Don’t worry about how long your workout lasts— focus on the fact that you’re being active.
  7. Run or jog for one song—try pacing your inhales and exhales along with the beat or each stride.
  8. Find a buddy— having company can keep you accountable and interested in exercise.

Sources:
When You Are Too Tired to Workout, Livestrong.com, January 8, 2019
Should I Sleep or Workout? I’m Too Tired to Exercise…, Powerhouse Performance, August 8, 2014
10 Ways to Get Fit If You’re Lazy AF, Harvey-Jenner, Catriona, Cosmopolitan, May 12, 2016