The link between exercise and energy

energy and exercise

Peter on left, running out of energy with 20km still to go























You would think that before starting any exercise we would need to feel energetic. One of the biggest excuses for not exercising is lack of energy.

Yes ideally we do need to feel energetic to be motivated to exercise, but more importantly, we can develop an energetic feeling by exercising.

If that sounds like a typical alchemists contradiction to you, read what Adam Khan has to say about the subject in this post on his Moodraiser blog. 

Many times in my life, I have been able to overcome lethargy and a distinct lack of energy by forcing myself to exercise. A word of warning, if a lack of energy persists, get medical advice, there may be a medical cause.

When I was training for ultra-marathons and getting up at 5 am on cold Highveld mornings in a South African winter, I certainly did not feel energetic or enthusiastic about running for the next hour or more. Particularly if I had not slept off the effects of a late night and business entertaining with an excess of rich food and wine. (In the days before political correctness, when it was still acceptable – even expected – that customers and clients should be entertained.) However within a few minutes of setting out, the cold and increased blood flow from pounding the pavement would chase away the cobwebs in the mind and I would start to feel revived.

By the time I got home after 15 or 20 km, I would be full of energy and ready to take on the world.

Exercise has always been an important part of my life. Equine sports, marathon running, cycling, squash, rugby, farming and being a horse owner have all contributed to a very active life.

A knee injury and move to a different country ended my serious running career in 1994, but a return to farming and an increase in my horse riding kept me fit and active for many more years. A heart attack in 2010 put an end to my farm related activities. I was back on a horse two weeks after leaving hospital, walking 2 km  a day two weeks later and soon back to sawing wood, clearing snow, shovelling manure and all the other chores that are part of owning horses and living in the country.

I am grateful that I can still do everything I want, even if it is sometimes a little slower than before.

There is some speculation that a history of marathon running or other endurance sports can lead to an increased risk of a heart attack. In my case, I am convinced that my active life and high level of fitness were major factors in surviving the experience and in enjoying a quick recovery.

For most of the year, I ride my horse two or three times a week weather permitting and briskly walk 3 km about 5 times a week. For 8 weeks in Spring and early summer, I help a local farmer and good friend by managing 3 greenhouses where he grows his vegetable seedlings. This takes 2 to 3 hours, 7 days a week so I put my walking on hold for that period. I figure I get enough exercise walking up and down greenhouses in up to 44C (110F) temperatures for those few hours. I enjoy my annual greenhouse spell because it gets me out of my office and gives me time for quiet contemplation amongst growing plants. An environment conducive to serious, uninterrupted thinking and relaxed speech practice.

This year’s greenhouse activity slowed down considerably two weeks ago and ended last week. Rain almost every day has made it too muddy to ride my horse and I had not got back into the routine of walking each day. This morning, I did not have the energy to start this post or work on other projects that required concentration. After trying without success to get started, I put work on hold, put the leash on Mike the dog who was overjoyed at the idea and went for a 2km walk.

It was a beautiful morning, clear sky, brilliant sunshine but still cool, no bugs out at that time, only 1 car passed me on our quiet country road.

That did the trick, I got home full of energy, have accomplished more today than any day this week and feel better for it.

So the next time you feel low on energy, try doing some exercise, it can create a magical transformation.

Do you have a secret for restoring your energy? Share it with us by leaving a comment.

Wishing you success and an extraordinary life.


Peter Wright

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