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Exercise for Energy: Workouts That Work

Want to fight fatigue? Here's what kind of exercise -- and how much -- is best.
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Exercise for Energy: What Really Works continued...

In addition to walking, experts say other forms of exercise that help increase "calm energy" are yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and, sometimes, resistance strength training, particularly when done with slow, deliberate motions.

Further, Thayer says playing music during any workout may increase "calm energy" while helping to reduce tension.

"In a study we did about 10 years ago, we found that music was a very effective way to change a person's mood," he says. "And though we don't have any data just yet, we are now studying whether workouts that combine music and movement, like Jazzercise, can induce this state of calm energy that is so healthy."

While experts agree that moderate movement is key to increasing energy, even if you overdo it, your end result may still be less fatigue.

"Though it's mostly anecdotal at this point, we are starting to see that while intense exercise may tire you out, it also reduces tension, so that after an hour or so, when your muscles begin to recover, you might see a surge of energy but without tension," says Thayer.

Regardless of what energy-producing exercise you choose, you can get more out of your workout time by eating some fruit just before you start, says Pasqualoni, founder of the Strike It Healthy web site.

"This allows food, which is a form of energy, to be broken down and the nutrients enter the bloodstream, while preparing the body for work," she says. "The end result: You have more energy while you're working out -- and more energy afterwards."

Heller also reminds us to drink plenty of water before, during, and after working out to help decrease workout-related fatigue.

"Dehydration is an important cause of fatigue, so to get the most energy out of every workout, be sure to stay hydrated," she says.

And finally, what if you're really just too tired to do anything at all? Experts say simply getting up out of your chair may be enough to get those mitochondria energy factories powered up -- and for you to feel some instant results.

Says Thayer: "Even if you think you're too tired to do anything, get up and walk around the room, and in a couple of minutes you're going to feel some energy that wasn't there before. And that may lead you to want to move even more."

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Reviewed on August 07, 2009

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