Microsoft word - endless energy.docx
Do you wake up every morning feeling in need of a good night's sleep? Do you
struggle through your morning's business, yawn through lunch meetings and drag
yourself home in the evening to col apse, exhausted in front of the TV?
Hectic, Nineties lifestyles can leave us with a constant feeling of fatigue, even if we
sleep eight hours a night. Longer work hours and lack of separation between work
and play means there is no way to escape work stress or find time to take care of
ourselves, says stress and wel -being expert Dr. Amanda Kirby. This causes
tiredness which makes us even more stressed, so we start drinking and smoking,
which saps our energy level even further.
If there is no obvious reason for your fatigue, like insomnia or il ness, it's time to
make some simple lifestyle changes. Just improving your diet or increasing your
exercise can make your energy levels soar, says Kirby. To start with, are you too
tired for the gym? All the more reason to go: exercise is the best re-energiser
around. However low you feel before a workout, you're guaranteed to feel better
afterwards. Exercise kick-starts your metabolism, It triggers the release of feel-good
endorphins, which lift your mood and give you an extra burst to stay on form.
A fit body deals better with the daily stresses and strains. Exercising also helps you
sleep better and boosts your immune system. Inject more activity into your daily life.
Try walking or cycling to work; get off the bus a few stops earlier. Research shows a
brisk post-lunch walk prevents mid-afternoon slump. Progress to a regular exercise
routine, scheduling workouts for the time of day you need a boost. You may find
morning workouts prepare you for the day ahead or that exercising after work re-
energises you for the evening. Never overdo it: over-exercising leads to exhaustion
and stress. If you exercise daily, vary the type and intensity of your workouts so your
body can recover, says Kirby.
What we eat and when we eat it affects our energy levels and mood dramatical y.
Forget double expresso's, the best energy boost comes from a healthy diet, high in
energy-packed carbohydrates (like pasta, rice, potatoes) and low in fat. If you're
feeling tired, you may not be eating enough carbohydrates to repair your energy
stores, especial y if you exercise says dietitian Amanda Ursel .
Never miss breakfast. Research shows people who eat high-carbohydrate
breakfasts, like cereal and toast stay more physical y and mental y alert through the
day. Our metabolism is starved overnight so, to get going in the morning, you must
have something even if it's just an orange juice, says Ursel .
Heavy lunches lead to a mid-afternoon slump as blood is diverted from the brain to
the stomach. Instead, several smal meals a day, plus healthy snacks like fruit and
yogurts, wil maintain your blood sugar levels, staving off fatigue. At business
lunches start with vegetable soup or salad, then choose gril ed fish or chicken and a
sorbet or fruit to finish, says Ursel . Avoid junk food, coffee, chocolate and sugary
drinks, they can rob you of the vitamins and minerals vital for peak performance. Eat
five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, says Ursel . If you don't eat much meat, top up on iron (in eggs, wholemeal bread, dried fruit and cereals) and B vitamins (wholegrains, milk, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables) needed to transfer food into energy. If your diet is stil poor, take a multivitamin. A healthier office environment helps counteract long hours and stressful meetings. Open windows for fresh air and maximise natural daylight. If you work in an air-conditioned office, get outside at lunch time. Lunching over a desk or computer for hours on end leads to shal ow breathing, causing tiredness and muscle tension. Ensure your furniture al ows you to sit up straight and avoid eye strain and take regular breaks to stretch and boost your circulation. Practice breathing deeply from your diaphragm, four five minute sessions of deep breathing a day calms and re-energises you. Save coffee for emergencies, caffeine raises your heart rate, heightening stress and fatigue. Instead drink two litres of water a day to prevent dehydration. If you're real y suffering try swapping your coffee break for a 25 minute power nap. Experts think it works as a mental booster because the first state of sleep is so restorative. Relaxation is essential, especial y for people who are always in work mode. Everyone needs time out to relax and recharge their batteries. Planning time for yourself everyday is as important as a regular holiday says Kirby. It is like topping up your car with fuel - the more often you do it the less time it takes. Just 20 minutes a day in a peaceful spot wil help. Turn your mobile phone off, read a book, listen to music or try relaxation exercises like yoga, meditation or Tai Chi which soothe your mind while revitalising your body. Last, sleep soundly. According to a U.S. report, half of us don't get enough sleep to remain active and alert. The hours before midnight are the most refreshing but quality is as important as quantity if you want to feel refreshed in the morning. Unless you wind down before bedtime, work problems and worries disrupt your sleep leaving you groggy. Take time to relax. Have a warm bath or read until you're drowsy says Kriby. Avoid caffeine, late-night eating and alcohol, al of which reduce sleep quality.
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