Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Go From Tired to Inspired by Cammy Dennis

We all seem to struggle with maintaining our energy at times. Do you have days where you lose your desire to participate in activities you enjoy, or find it hard to concentrate? If these sound familiar, you might be suffering from an energy drain. There are a host of reasons why we might lack energy or run out of steam. Experts agree that the majority of reasons for energy deficiency come from little things we do to sabotage ourselves. Certain lifestyle behaviors can zap our energy instead of recharging us.

I went to a trusted source to find out the top 10 ways to boost energy. Think about these tips as healthy lifestyle habits that you should make a part of your day every day!

Eat a balanced diet. This will ensure that vitamin and mineral needs are met. Energy deficiency can sometimes indicate that your body is lacking in the nutrients it needs.
Walk around the block. It may seem counter-intuitive to move when you fell tired but often the opposite is true. Increasing physical activity, particularly walking can boost energy.
Take a power nap. Research indicates that pushing our brains too hard (information overload) can drain our energy. The National Institute of Mental Health found that a 60-minute power nap can help to recharge your battery! Along with power-napping, a good night's sleep is very important. It is recommended that you get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Don't skip breakfast...or any other meal for that matter! Studies prove that folks who eat breakfast report being in a better mood and have more energy. The journal "Nutritional Health" also found that skipping meals led to an overall feeling of fatigue by the day's end.
Reduce your stress. Stress is one of our biggest energy zappers. Dr. Baard from Fordham University says, "Stress is often the result of anxiety and anxiety uses up a whole lot of our energy. We can counter these energy killers by making sure to include relaxation and stress reducing activities into our day.
Drink more water and less alcohol. Sometimes even slight dehydration can leave you feeling tired. This is one reason why our bodies confuse thirst with hunger, we want a "pick me up" so our inclination is to go for food or beverages that our body will convert to glucose (sugar!). All we really need was a tall glass of water.
Eat more whole grains and less sugar. The key with this is to keep blood sugar balanced so our energy is stable. Simple sugar and processed foods spike our blood sugar up quickly and drop it just as quickly. That's where our energy gets zapped. Whole grains provide a slow and steady release of fuel and your energy will be more consistent.
Eat a power snack. Try a snack that combines some protein, a little fat and some fiber. A great example would be peanut butter on whole wheat crackers. The carbs offer quick energy; the protein and the fat will sustain the energy boost.
Make it a latte. Combining coffee or espresso with the sustaining power of protein in the form of low-fat milk will help to maintain the energy boost you get from the caffeine.
Check your thyroid function. If you are constantly running on low energy it might be an indication that there is an underlying physical condition. It would be advisable to see your health care provider for a more in-depth evaluation; prolonged fatigue might mean that there is thyroid dysfunction.

Cammy Dennis is the Fitness Director for On Top of the World Communities and The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa.

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