Everyone has had those blah days. You know the ones we mean. The days when you feel too worn out to work out and it seems as if your couch is calling your name louder than your sneakers? On those days, just the thought of pulling on the workout gear, no matter how stylish, is simply too much.
Even if you’re dedicated and love working out, this is bound to happen to you from time to time. However, feeling tired shouldn’t keep you from your sweat session.
There are many ways to re-energize yourself, and exercise is one of the best.
“Exercise has excellent mood-boosting, psychological benefits,” says Rachelle Reed, Ph.D., Pure Barre Manager of Training Development and Barre Kinesiologist. “Decades of research show that any type of physical activity will help you feel less fatigued, more energetic, less anxious, happier, all while improving your sleep quality.”
Now that we’ve made our case for working out even when tired, here are several expert-recommended exercises to motivate you when you’re too tired to work out.
Dynamic Bodyweight Moves
Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, anytime, and without equipment. Reed loves the following four dynamic exercises found in a Pure Barre class: plank variations, lunge and squat combinations, glute bridges with arms, and bicycle crunches.
Her plank to push-up combination starts with a forearm plank and moves into an extended plank. Begin by shifting forward and back on your forearms. Then extend your arms and pulse one leg toward the ceiling at a time, followed by push-ups.
Next, complete alternating lunges for one minute and then squats for 30 seconds.
Then, lie down on the floor for a glute bridge with biceps and triceps work. Grab two soup cans or light weights and curl your arms in as you lower your seat to tap the floor, repeating for 45 seconds, and then switch to arms straight overhead and bending to work the triceps for another 45 seconds.
Finish with bicycle crunches for 30 seconds.
“The[se exercises] help you to get up off the couch and work all the major muscles in your body,” she says, “all while getting your heart rate up, in under 15 minutes.”
It doesn’t feel like exercise and it won’t make you sweat, but a deep breathing session can do wonders if you’re feeling low-energy.
“A few cycles of deep inhalations and exhalations will reinvigorate your state,” says Amy Opielowski, a CorePower Yoga Master Trainer.
Yoga is likely top of mind when you think of a rejuvenating, low-key workout. There are a few poses in particular that really stand out when it comes to helping you wake up. Opielowski’s picks are cat-cow, bridge pose and handstand.
“Cat-cow flexes and extends your spine and provides a gentle massage for your spine to increase circulation,” she says.
Bridge pose, meanwhile, “stretches your chest and front line as it strengthens your backline.”
Finally, physically changing your perspective in a handstand can amplify your mood.
According to Tanya Becker, co-founder of Physique57, low-impact exercise such as walking outdoors or even swimming are great options.
“The fresh air can help invigorate you and plunging into water is a great way to awaken and refresh the body,” she says.
You don’t have to sweat or raise your heart rate sky high to feel a refresh from the movement.
Join A Class
If you can’t self-motivate, participating in a class might be just what you need.
“You can use the energy of the group and/or feed off the positive vibes from an enthusiastic trainer,” says Becker.
Naturally, she recommends the motivating low-impact Physique57 classes.
“Our inspirational trainers make you feel like moving instead of sleeping,” she says.
Recharge With Pilates
A short Pilates session is the perfect way to get moving without overdoing it.
“When you’ve had a long day and think you may be too tired to work out, my tip is to stick to the more rhythmic, low to moderate intensity activities,” says Phil Timmons, Blink Fitness Personal Trainer. “They’re great for recharging your batteries when you’re feeling exhausted.”
Plus, most moves in a Pilates mat class involve laying on the floor.
Take A Break
Before you make any moves, you should check on what may be causing your low energy.
“There’s a fine line between being tired and exhausted,” says Becker. “If you push yourself in an exhausted state, your workout may end up being sub-par, you can increase your risk for injury and your immune system can become compromised.”
If that’s the case, it’s okay to give yourself a rest day.