Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Do You Lack The Energy? Probably!

 In the fast paced world in which we live, we often find ourselves struggling to maintain a good healthy NATURAL energy level.   
 Starbucks, Red Bull, 5 hour energy, and vitamin B12 shots are all the rage and many people can’t seem to survive without them.  Are these “solutions” to fatigue really the root cause of the problem?  Thankfully, there are things you can do to enhance your own natural energy levels.  I challenge you to forego the stimulants and fancy pills and try these simple tips for a week!  See if you don’t have more energy! 

1. Control stress.
Stress-induced emotions consume huge amounts of energy.  Talking with a friend or relative, joining a support group, or seeing a therapist can all help diffuse stress.  Relaxation therapies like meditation, yoga, and tai chi are also effective tools for reducing stress.

 2. Lighten your load
One of the main reasons for fatigue is overwork.  Overwork can include professional, family, and social obligations. Try to streamline your list of “must-do” activities.  Set your priorities in terms of the most important tasks.  Pare down those that are less important.  Consider asking for extra help at work, if necessary.

3. Exercise
Exercise almost guarantees that you’ll sleep more soundly.  It also gives your cells more energy to burn and circulates oxygen.  And exercising causes your body to release epinephrine and norepinephrine, stress hormones that in modest amounts can make you feel energized.  Even a brisk walk is a good start.  Get moving!

4. Avoid smoking
We all know smoking threatens your health.  But you may not know that smoking actually siphons off your energy by causing insomnia.  The nicotine in tobacco is a stimulant, so it speeds the heart rate, raises blood pressure, and stimulates brain-wave activity associated with wakefulness, making it harder to fall asleep.  And once you do fall asleep, its addictive power can kick in and awaken you with cravings.

 5. Get adequate sleep
If you're always tired because you only allow yourself a few hours of sleep each night, you obviously need more rest.  On average, most adults need seven or eight hours of quality sleep each night, but there’s no hard and fast magic number that’s right for everybody.  If you consistently get seven hours of sleep but still wake up feeling drowsy, you probably need a little more.  Once you figure out what works for you, be consistent about getting that amount every night.

6. Eat for energy
It’s better to eat small meals and snacks every few hours than three large meals a day.  This approach can reduce your perception of fatigue because your brain needs a steady supply of nutrients.
Eating foods with a low glycemic index — whose sugars are absorbed slowly — may help you avoid the lag in energy that typically occurs after eating quickly absorbed sugars or refined starches.  Foods with a low glycemic index include whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive oil. In general, high-carbohydrate foods have the highest glycemic indexes.  Proteins and fats have glycemic indexes that are close to zero.

 7. Avoid caffeine
Caffeine does not boost your energy, it stimulates your nervous system and adrenals, so you think you feel energized.  The real down side is when the affects of the stimulant wear off, leaving you tired and feeling like you need another pick-me-up.  People who take caffeine regularly are generally less sensitive to its affects and require more and more to feel stimulated.  Caffeine can also cause insomnia, especially when consumed in large quantities and after 2pm. 

 8. Eat a healthy breakfast
Don’t skip breakfast!  Don’t eat an unhealthy breakfast either!  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it sets the tone for your energy level throughout the day.  HERE are some good breakfast ideas to get you started on an energy filled day.

 9. Drink water
What’s the only nutrient that has been shown to enhance performance for all but the most demanding endurance activities?  It’s not some pricey sports drink.  It’s water.  If your body is short on fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue.  As a general rule, you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
Take my challenge and see if in a week’s time you don’t have more energy and a better outlook on life!  It works!  

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