Overcoming Fatigue with Exercise

woman in white shoes next to coffee

Coffee. The sweet nectar of life. I truly believe heaven will smell like a freshly brewed cup of coffee. I initially stared my love affair with coffee when I was in college but it only intensified after my son was born and I was utterly exhausted. I relied on coffee to help boost my energy first thing in the morning and again around 3:00pm to carry me through the rest of my day. Unfortunately, blood pressure and heart palpitation issues, as well as attempting to get pregnant, prompted the recommendation from my physician to limit, if not remove, my caffeine intake. I still drank coffee but switched to half-caff followed by the full progression to decaffeinated because I craved the flavor. I thought this would serve as a placebo to mentally feel I was still getting the same affects. I was wrong. Physically, I could feel I was no longer getting the aided boost coffee provided me, was horribly drained, and needed something else to take my beloved coffee’s “place.” Research has proven regular, low-intensity exercise has many positive effects on the body, including promoting energy and decreasing fatigue. This is a fact I educate to patients on a daily basis. So, how could I apply it to my daily life? First, I began to add activity to my mid-afternoon when I would feel sluggish. On days off, I was tempted to nap with my son. Instead of laying down with him, I would perform a 10 or 15 minute yoga session. The poses coupled with breathing techniques produced the energy boost I needed to overcome my afternoon slump. When at work, I began to sit on a physio-ball while charting patient notes, stand and stretch, or go for a short walk in order to boost my mental function and shake off fatigue. Second, I started to get up earlier in the morning to work out. I talked myself into setting the alarm fifteen minutes earlier and to NOT hit snooze. Fifteen minutes eventually lead to thirty followed by one hour. I started to feel more alert as well as began to see positive changes in my overall strength and well-being. This definitely worked in my favor as it allowed me to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy, despite being considered a high risk. In no way am I suggesting you stop drinking your coffee. I am merely sharing my story in the event you are ever faced with a similar situation. And, to encourage you to consider increasing your activity levels. When you start to feel the mid-day slump, stand up, stretch, and take the longer route to the break room to grab your mug. Chances are, I am right there with you grabbing my tumbler of decaff.
If interested in research related to “Exercise overcoming fatigue”, I suggest the following, all of which review the study produced from the University of Georgia:
University of Georgia. "Regular Exercise Plays A Consistent And Significant Role In Reducing Fatigue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061101151005.htm 
Effects of Chronic Exercise on Feelings of Energy and Fatigue: A Quantitative Synthesis
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