You're too tired to exercise. So now what?

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I’m tired. You’re tired. Everyone is tired, all the time.

And when you’re tired, it’s easy to skip out on the whole exercise thing. That’s perfectly okay if you do it once, or twice, or even five times. But when you’re constantly using ‘tired’ as an excuse to avoid exercise – there’s something wrong.

7 reasons you might be tired all the time

I had a chat to personal trainer Kirsty Welsh to discuss what to do when you’re feeling too tired to work out. And together, we came up with a little choose-your-own-adventure path to determine exactly how you should sort yourself out.

Are you level 1 or Level 2 tired?

Level one is the kind of tired where you've maybe had a big day at work - not a bad one, just a busy one - and you're feeling a bit lazy and a bit soft. You could go to the gym, but it's kind of in the too-hard basket when compared to everything else.

Level two is when you're truly fatigued, exhausted, over-worked and over-stressed (or all of the above).

How can you tell when you're at a level two kind of tired? "If you’re feeling a bit anxious, waking up sluggish on a daily basis, if you start getting angry when you get a text or email, if you’re feeling a bit foggy, your memory’s fading, you start craving high calorie foods…  if you generally feel like if a fly landed on your shoulder, you might cry… all of those things indicate you’re stressed and over worked," Kirsty says.

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Level 1:

"You know when you're just being a bit lazy," Kirsty says. "Get off the couch and go do something. Get moving, and select an intensity that suits you. Yoga is second to none. You can choose the intensity of the class you go to. It’s the same as cardio – you can do higher intensity or lower intensity. Energise yourself  as opposed to tiring yourself."

Love fast, high-intensity workouts? Try these. (Post continues after gallery).

Level 2:

This is a problem, because it means that your sympathetic nervous system is overworked. Your blood is being pushed into all the external muscles, trying to get you from A to B in life. And this isn't a good thing for your body, because, according to Kirsty, "your body doesn’t differentiate between nutritional stress, over-exercising stress and mental stress. Body/mind/spirit stress is all registered the same way in the body."

5 easy ways to relieve stress in the moment.


Think of it as the whole yin and yang concept. Your body is out of balance - you've got too much yang. Too much fire. And it's time to correct it. This doesn't necessarily mean exercising, although you can do some light stuff if you need to.

Here are six things you can do to kick yourself back into balance...

1. Take a day for yourself to do whatever you need to.

"Try massage, acupuncture. Do a light yoga class, some stretching get a foam roller, that sort of thing. If you feel like you just need a day in bed, do that too," Kirsty says. "If you’re so tired that you can’t even look at words, take a nap under a tree. You’ve broken your body down too much. "

2. Fill yourself full of the good stuff.

"Good carbs are important," Kirsty says. "So is plenty of water and veggies." Generally, anything you can do to fill yourself up with nutritious goodness is great.

3. Take care of your spirit.

"Ask yourself - when was the last time you had fun?" Kirsty says. "When was the last time you went dancing? When did you go down to the beach, spend some time in nature? Just be outdoors, doing whatever appeals to you outdoors."

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4. Consider a mini-cleanse.

"How about a break from coffee? Or alcohol? Yes, coffee gives you a natural energy boost, but depletes your energy in the long run," Kirsty suggests.

5. Sleep.

It's an obvious one, but sleep is so important and most of us aren't getting our eight hours a night. "You need to be getting nine hours if you can," Kirsty adds.

 6. Meditate.

"I absolutely would be a different person if I didn’t meditate," Kirsty says. "I have to meditate. Those mornings that you can’t be bothered doing things, those days where you wake up really tired... just download an app and do a seven minute meditation. I have this app which is so non-confrontational – it's called Smiling Mind and it's great."

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It might sound like a lot of things to do. But even making a couple of small changes in your life will help you to restore some of the energy you've zapped.

There are no doubts in this life that your health is the most important thing - so pay attention and take care of it.

Are you too tired to exercise? What do you do?