Waging war with “burnout?” You’re not alone. It’s become ubiquitous in modern society. But fitness gurus and personal trainers are making their case that exercise and nutrition are still the most effective strategies in fighting the effects of burnout, including laziness and anxiety.
A recent study revealed that nearly half of today’s Millennials feel like they’re constantly fighting the effects of burnout. Feeling burnt is nothing to be ashamed of, but burnout often begets laziness, and laziness can get in the way of our health when it turns into anxiety.
We wanted to look further into the claims that exercise and a sensible diet were all that was needed to combat the effects of laziness, so we connected with a few prominent personal trainers and fitness professionals around the East London area (Canary Wharf) to get their take. What we learned is that our bodies experience a “cognitive regeneration” process whenever we exercise. Think of exercise as giving your brain and central nervous system an opportunity to recover. For example, a recent study showed that a 30-minute workout session caused participants to experience an immediate improvement in their mood and an uptick in their levels of motivation while it also eroded away at feelings of restlessness and anxiety.
Of course, one of the biggest impediments we run into with laziness is finding the motivation to get started with an exercise program when we’re already feeling mentally drained.
To get over that, let’s take a closer look at laziness...
What is Laziness?
Laziness can largely be defined as “a failure to take action or complete an expected task on account of conscious, controllable factors.” In common language, that means a deliberate lack of effort on our part. Laziness often shows up in our lives when we feel stuck in a rut or when we find ourselves repeating the same boring, monotonous routines. To a certain extent, such routines literally cause our brains to shut down or at least “tune out.”
But laziness often leads to procrastination, and that’s where we can run into trouble.
Procrastination, Anxiety, and Our Health
Procrastination isn’t about how we manage our time. It’s about how we manage our emotions. The thought of having to complete a certain task may evoke feelings of anxiety, but when we discover we can avoid that feeling by putting off certain decisions or tasks, that’s procrastination at play in our lives. Ultimately, procrastination is an unhealthy strategy to stave off negative emotions. In other words, it’s a poor “coping mechanism” which often leads to anxiety. With its apparent links to physical illnesses, procrastination is undoubtedly the problem child of laziness.
The truth of it is this: those of us who procrastinate tend to report experiencing higher levels of anxiety and impulsiveness. In fact, procrastination alone can cause a 36% spike in our stress levels.
Exercise Overcomes Laziness
For many of us, laziness is nothing more than a lack of physical activity. In the absence of physical activity, the muscle mass in our bodies begins to decrease leaving unwanted fat in its place. Suddenly, fat loss becomes an issue along with laziness. Fortunately, exercise can offer obvious weight loss advantages too.
But we get it. Elevating your heart rate with exercise is probably the last thing you feel up to if you’re experiencing burnout.
So, what’s the best strategy to stop being lazy and start exercising more?
Personal trainers often tell their clients to focus on their mindset first. To adopt the right mindset to overcome laziness, consider for a moment why most people exercise? They oftentimes do so because of the way it makes them feel. As the science goes, physical activity accelerates our breathing, and that leads to an increase in the amount of oxygen circulating in our bodies. This increase in oxygen content supports energy production at the cellular level leaving us feeling more energized.
Exercise also increases the release of those feel-good hormones called endorphins, your body’s natural painkiller and mood enhancer. We can trace this back to the joggers who commonly refer to this sensation as a “runner’s high.”
Voilà. Suddenly we have more energy and are less prone to laziness and procrastination. And that brings us to the mental health advantages of exercising.
Exercise: Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing
Not only can exercise help you suppress those inclinations to put important things off until later, exercising with regularity can be significantly effective at battling the effects of depression and anxiety. Almost all the personal trainers we talked to in East London told us that their clients routinely report improvements in their mood, their memory, and they reported sleeping more soundly after exercising.
Making the case for exercise more compelling is the fact that we don’t need to get fanatical about exercise to experience these benefits. There’s enough evidence indicating that even a moderate amount of exercise can make a noticeable difference in our lives. It doesn’t matter if you qualify as athletic or not, we can all learn to use exercise as a way of dealing with our inclinations towards laziness. Finally, physical exercise reduces the level of cortisol in our bodies; something produced by the adrenal glands that are often referred to as “stress hormones.”
Want in on a little secret? Nutrition and laziness are intrinsically linked. Research shows that impulsive and poor diet choices are directly connected to lower levels of productivity. In fact, people who make unhealthy choices are more than 60% likely to experience a decrease in how productive they feel.
Remember, a well-balanced diet that focuses on getting enough of the macronutrient protein is a major contributor towards enhanced levels of productivity not to mention a better sense of well-being. If we stop during the day to focus on eating a nutritious diet, we can expect to experience:
Greater levels of concentration
Higher energy levels
Decreases in anxiety
It’s so easy to find a reason not to exercise, isn’t it? But it’s time for that to stop if we want to perform at our best. Working with a personal trainer might sound like the last thing for anyone who’s battling with bouts of laziness. But it’s undoubtedly one of the most prudent choices they can make if they’re serious about making positive changes in their lives. A personal trainer can serve as a powerful motivator, capable of tailoring your exercise regimen to the point where you won’t even consider skipping a session on account of laziness. It all begins with a simple online search of “pt near me.”
If that’s not enough, your personal trainer will be the one who champions your efforts, and that’s a boost of positivity and extra motivation to keep up the good work.