Exercise is supposed to give you energy, but at what point can it actually drain you of energy? Fitness expert Jenni Rivett is as adamant about the damaging effects of over-exercising as she is about not exercising at all. In this article she shares some great advice.


exercise | Longevity LIVEIt’s common knowledge that energy input versus energy output is the defining factor in relation to keeping our weight stable. A balanced exercise programme combined with a healthy eating plan will certainly deliver results – for some quicker than others.

However, take the parameters of these energy equations to the extreme and you’re heading for disaster in terms of your energy and metabolism. For the exercise addict, losing weight is the only goal. They’re literally shutting down their metabolism, as it goes into starvation mode, preparing for a famine.

Energy levels plummet, but the mind is still willing, and health starts to deteriorate. This is a dangerous and destructive situation. A balanced exercise programme combined with a healthy eating plan will certainly deliver results

How exactly does exercise increase energy levels?

Part of the reason exercise increases energy levels is simply an exchange of gases in the body. Being indoors or even sleeping at night builds up our carbon dioxide and we need to rid our lungs of this stale old gas and replace it with a good burst of fresh oxygen.

Often when you find yourself yawning in a class, especially first thing in the morning, it’s because of this gaseous exchange. A combination of getting oxygen and blood flow to the muscles, combined with the release of endorphins (feel-good hormones), are all intrinsic factors which contribute to increased energy all round.

How much should I exercise to get more energy?

When it comes to exercise guidelines, research always points to the importance of first and foremost increasing our daily level of activity. A busy body all day (without added gym work) is better off than a body that exercises for an hour every day and then sits at a desk for the rest of the day. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the dog and do the housework. The cumulative effect of performing daily activities has profound effects on our health and energy levels.

exercise | Longevity LIVETo this end we’ve also been advised to try and accumulate at least 10 000 steps per day. Add to this four to five exercise sessions per week (no more, no less) and you’ll be doing the very best you can for your health and energy levels.

As a general rule of thumb, if your level of activity is relatively high, I would suggest you try to fit three to four exercise sessions in per week on top of this. If you are not that active during your day, then aim to do four to five sessions per week.


Jenni Rivett

Jenni has been a fitness instructor and wellness coach for over two decades and is considered a global expert on the subject. She runs Jenergy, from Durban in Kwa Zulu Natal which offers real results for real women and teaches women how to get their lives and bodies back. Link with Jenni on LinkedIn.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.