Increasing Energy Levels With Exercise: It Starts With 10 Minutes


This is my daughter.  She’s got the most energy of anyone I know.  Shortly before I snapped this photo, she said, “Mom, I’m feeling a little tired.  I’m going to go get some energy in me.”  She proceeded to the den and began jumping on her little trampoline.  It’s not the first time she has used a quick session of bouncing up and down when she’s felt a little sluggish.  I knew she was on to something and decided to find out just how beneficial her short exercise routines really are since everyone can manage to carve out 10 minutes in their day.  After all, what is one of the major complaints of people with chronic conditions?  Lack of energy.

One of the first questions my doctor asked me when I went I went to her office to see why I might be tired so often throughout the day was, “How much exercise are you getting?”  Why does exercise matter?  As reported by the Mayo Clinic, “In a study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomaticsin 2008, University of Georgia researchers found that inactive folks who normally complained of fatigue could increase energy by 20% while decreasing fatigue by as much as 65% by simply participating in regular, low-intensity exercise.”    I don’t know if those statistics differ for those suffering from chronically fatiguing conditions, but I do know that I am much  better off when I exercise consistently versus when I do not.

How does exercise improve energy levels?  The answer is in your cells, specifially mitochondria.  When you exericse, the amount of mitochondria increases.  Mitochondira are the energy stores in your cells; therefore, exercise means more mitochondria which means more energy!  Furthermore, not only does it help with fatigue levels, it helps your brain, too.  Check out this study  for more information.

Exercising can be a challenge for people living with narcolepsy with the most obvious obstacle being our energy levels.  It’s difficult sometimes to even muster up the energy to get out of bed and get into the shower, let alone exercise.  It’s a terrible cunundrum.  We’re too tired to do the thing that will make us less tired!  Ack!  The good news is that research has shown that even just 10 minutes of exercise can be beneficial to cardiovascular fitness.  You can check out this article that cites a particular study done in 2007.  Futhermore, if you can do two or three of these mini exercise sessions per day, it will add up quickly at the end of the week!  Surely we can all manage 10 minutes of exercise per day.  I dare you to try it!  After all, it must work for Tony Horton – Mr. P90X himself – to make a 10 Minute Trainer series.

My goal for this week is to exercise for at least 10 minutes every single day this week.  I do have three running days scheduled this week, one of which includes a 5K I’m going to attempt on Sunday, but any day I’m not running, I’m going to work on incorporating at least some exercise into my daily routine.  I have the tendency to focus too much on running and nothing else.  Perhaps giving myself this 10 minute goal will help me remember to do my stregnth training and stretching.  For ideas on 10-minutes workous, there are several on this fitness magazine page.

So how does my daughter know that exercise will help her get energy?  The daycare/preschool she goes to has Stretch n’ Grow classes that teach this and other important lessons.  If she can do it, so can I….and so can YOU!

Do you notice improvement in your symptmos when you exercise?  If you’re not currently exercising regularly, are you going to join in the challenge?  I want to hear from you! 





  1. Jill says:

    Actually, I got into marathon running indirectly because of my narcolepsy. Before I was diagnosed, I thought I was so tired because I wouldn’t stay consistent with exercise. I would be ok at the beginning of the week. But by Wednesday, I’d wouldn’t have the energy to do anything but crash on the couch after work. It was frustrating!

    So, I signed up for a marathon because I figured if I knew I had to run a marathon, I wouldn’t skip workouts no matter how tired I was. It worked. I would drag my body out to go run no matter how tired I was. And every time, without fail, I’d feel ‘normal’ for about an hour or so after I got back. It gives me a little relief from the EDS and I love it! Still, it can be hard to get myself out there when I’m exhausted. But when I do, I never regret it!!!

Speak Your Mind