Too tired to exercise? Here’s what to do

2nd March, 2020 • 4 min read

It’s common to feel too tired or worn out to exercise. Packed schedules, poor sleep and some medical conditions can all cause fatigue. And we’ve all skipped a workout because we’re simply too exhausted to face the gym.

Luckily, there are ways to boost your energy levels. Once you’ve ruled out a serious medical problem and identified the cause of your tiredness, you can use the tips shared in this article to stay fighting fit.

Are you tired because of a medical condition?

Medical conditions like anaemia,

hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
can make you feel very tired.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
and some infectious diseases can also drain your energy, leaving you too tired to exercise.

However, it’s not always easy to tell if a medical condition is the reason why you feel too tired to exercise. Signs to watch out for include physical pain when you exercise and if your tiredness comes with symptoms such as:

  • fever or night sweats
  • loss of appetite
  • weight gain
  • joint or muscle pain
  • a headache or sore throat
  • problems with memory or concentration

See a doctor if you feel tired often. They can look into the cause of your symptoms and advise you on how to manage your fatigue.

Is a mental health problem to blame?

Mood disorders like

can make you feel tired or lethargic. Some mental health conditions can also make you lose interest in things you normally enjoy, which can make it challenging to stick to an exercise routine.

Conditions like depression can be hard to spot, but common symptoms include:

  • feelings of hopelessness
  • low self-esteem
  • problems with sleep
  • restlessness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • mood swings

If you think depression or another mood disorder may be making you too tired to exercise, see a doctor. Research shows that regular exercise can be used to treat some mood disorders, but it’s important to also get medical advice and support.

Is a busy lifestyle making you too tired to exercise?

Work stress, long commutes and hectic schedules can leave us feeling too tired to exercise, while poor sleep can affect our overall energy levels.

If your lifestyle leaves you exhausted, you may be tempted to skip exercise altogether. But try not to, as working out may make it easier to cope with a busy lifestyle. Research suggests that regular exercise can:

  • boost your energy levels
  • reduce stress
  • make it easier to sleep

Exercising on a busy schedule

If you struggle to fit exercise into your daily routine, try:

  • exercising in short 10-minute bursts
  • choosing simple exercises that you can do at home or the office
  • sticking to physical activities you enjoy

Once you’ve developed a routine, exercising should start to feel easier. You may also notice that you sleep better and feel more energised. Why not

download our app
and use the sleep tracker to see how your sleep or energy levels improve over time?

What if you just don’t like exercising?

We all know that exercise is good for us, but what should you do if you just don’t enjoy it? It’s important to still make time for a workout, but you may find it easier to follow through on your workouts if you:

  • start small, with 10 to 15 minutes of exercise each day
  • pick activities you enjoy, like dancing or walking
  • set an exercise goal and reward yourself every time you achieve it
  • integrate everyday activities like climbing the stairs or cycling to work
  • switch activities every time you get bored

Keep your expectations realistic and try not to feel discouraged if it feels like a chore at first. Stick with it, and you’ll find that exercising becomes easier and more enjoyable every day.

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.