School is about to start here. It has already started in a lot of places around the country. And the days are getting shorter. Anyone else struggling with their energy level with all of the planning and shopping and schedule-figure-outing?!
Enter the star of the show: Exercise!
Harvard Health and the Mayo Clinic and a large body of research agree … exercise gives you energy! And most people know that if you were to ask them.
Yet it seems the largest hurdle (well, maybe second to “not enough time”) that I hear from clients is that they just don’t have energy to exercise. How do we get past that feeling of not having enough energy so that we can be motivated to do the exercise that will actually give us energy? It’s a conundrum!
I like to encourage what I call “The 5 Minute Rule.” Usually, when someone is, say, exhausted after a full day of work and they just really want to curl up on the couch for some social media scrolling … they aren’t physically exhausted as much as they are mentally exhausted. What seems to work is to just say to yourself, “I’m just going to get on the treadmill (or turn on the video, or walk out the door …) for 5 minutes. If I’m still exhausted, I’m done!” The vast majority of the time, you’ll feel great after those 5 minutes, remember why you wanted to get this exercise habit going in the first place, and have lots of energy for whomever you want to share your time with later in the day!
What helps you to get started with your exercise when you just aren’t feeling it?
Truth be told, I chose this topic today because I need to hear this one myself right now. Between camping the past two weekends and my son having sleepover last night, I am sorely lacking in the sleep department recently!
There are many things that can affect sleep. Six pre-teen boys running around your house before finally settling down in the tents around 1am would be one of them! But in keeping with my theme, today’s topic is about exercise.
When I work with clients who know that they want to improve their sleep habits, as a Health Coach, my first go-to is to discuss exercise. A wide body of research indicates that exercise does help you to fall asleep faster and to improve your sleep quality once you are asleep (see this article from John Hopkins).
There is still some conflicting evidence regarding exercise right before bed. The Cleveland Clinic has determined that the myth has been debunked by recent research. My advice is to exercise when it works best for you. It may be some trial and error. If exercising at night works best for your schedule, give it a shot! I had a client who’s bedtime routine included a workout on his rowing machine before a shower. If you find that it keeps you up, then either decrease the intensity and try again, or pick a different time of the day to try. But you won’t know until you give it a shot!
I’m tired, so I won’t get into all the details about the theories behind why exercise helps sleep and why good sleep is important for overall health … maybe I will tackle that on another post!
What do you do to help you sleep well?
Katie Kolb - Health Coach