How to Be Fit When You’re Feeling Tired

group of people taking a yoga classSometimes fatigue catches up with you—after an illness, having a rough night or having a rough patch at your job. Here’s how you can be fit despite the occasional tired feeling.

Getting out of bed in the morning can feel like a workout during some phases of your life. What if it happens on your scheduled workout day? Should you head to the gym anyway? Being a little light on sleep doesn’t have to distract you from your routine, but then again, it’s not a good idea to work out if you’re exhausted, either. Following are some tips for understanding your energy level and working with it to stay fit.

Consider the reason you’re tired.

There’s a difference between trans-Atlantic jet lag and feeling lazy after a long commute. Or, between getting up early for a jog and staying up all night with the flu. It’s normal to feel tired every now and then, but that’s different than an all-nighter that shifts your body clock.

Are your eyelids literally drooping?

Just like the times you shouldn’t drive because you’re drowsy, you also shouldn’t workout when you’re drowsy, either. Avoid operating heavy machinery, and heavy weights, when you can barely keep your eyes open.

Or are your eyes a little bloodshot?

If you had a lot of fun over the weekend but still want to stick to your race training schedule, you might take baby steps before going full out. Allow your body and mind to warm up a bit longer, before you decide to bump up the intensity.

Could exercise pick you up?

It’s true, physical activity can often help you feel more energetic rather than wear you down. Endorphins, oxygen and blood flow increase and all that can actually wake you up. Ask yourself if it feels like you might perk up if you get moving. Maybe a little music, too?

Motivation vs. Energy.

It’s like determining if you’re truly hungry and need a snack, or maybe just feeling bored and resorting to eating. You might need to decide if you’re truly too tired to work out, or just feeling unmotivated and in need of a pep talk (you can have one with yourself!)

Listen to your body.

If your body feels sluggish or heavy, it can be a signal to take it easy. Other question: Feel like you’re coming down with something? Could you be dehydrated? Any chance you’ve been overtraining? You might need some water and a light workout today, instead of what you planned.

Start back lighter.

When you’re returning from a longer break, illness or injury, protect yourself to reduce any chance of injury as you get back on cardio and strength training equipment. Start lighter, focus on your form and roll back your expectations.

Choose light cardio, yoga or stretching.

If you’re a little groggy but still feel movement will do you good, you might be right! How about a power walk, or a restorative yoga class? A stretch session and a few push-ups could do the trick.

Be fit and be safe.

Don’t take a chance if you’re truly fatigued. Working out could also do more harm than good. You’re more prone to injuries when you’re very tired, and your senses may be dulled. This means your coordination can be off, so certain challenges like dancing or using equipment could be poor choices.

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