There’s a strange thing that happens when you exercise. You may have noticed it yourself, but it can still be pretty hard to believe. If you’re not someone who exercises at all, you might think it’s complete nonsense. We’re talking about the fact that exercise can actually give you more energy than you had when you started (https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/does-exercise-really-boost-energy-levels).

This may sound counterintuitive. When you’re practically dead on your feet after an intense session, it seems impossible, but the evidence says that the physical processes that take place in the body when you exercise do boost your energy levels.

When you exercise, more oxygen flows around the body. This allows every other body part to work better and be more efficient in using energy. The same goes for the increased effort from your heart and circulatory system. Once your blood is pumping, your exercise will start to build your endurance, meaning it will be easier to spend energy while still having some left over.

The energy benefits of exercise go right down to the cellular level. Your cells contain something called mitochondria, which take the food and oxygen you consume and turn them into energy (specifically through the compound ATP). More exercise means more oxygen and more mitochondria to increase your energy levels.

Then there are endorphins. These hormones are released through exercise, and they’ve been linked to the so-called “runner’s high” wave of euphoria that can sometimes follow. Endorphins lift our mood while making exercise less physically painful. You’ll be raring to go when they hit.

This also links to the broader mental effects of exercise. The improvements to mood, focus and cognition make it much easier for you to want to go to a fitness session, feel enthusiastic about it and make the most of your performance. You can’t separate physical and mental health when it comes to these things.

On top of all this, exercise helps you sleep better. That means more rest and recovery to boost your physical energy levels and even more improvements to your mental state at the same time. It’s a beautiful cycle where every aspect helps feed into the others.

So, if you’re feeling low and tired, try some aerobic exercise, even if it’s a short session. You may find it powers you up and leaves you ready to do more.

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