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Saturday, March 22, 2014

10 Ways to Increase Your Energy Levels

1. Shake a Leg. Get moving.  Research indicates that being more physically active will boost an individual's energy level, just as engaging in a sedentary lifestyle will often lead to fatigue in a person.  In this regard, exercising on a regular basis can be particularly beneficial.  Not only can a workout trigger the release of feel-good endorphins but also can lower an individual's level of elevated stress hormones.  I've seen this first hand.  My clients love the benefits of a great workout program.  Keep in mind that working out does not have to be a chore.  Make it fun.  Contact me for more details (800.661.7272).

2. In the mood for food?  Watch what you eat.  Adhering to sound nutritional guidelines is integral to experiencing an enhanced level of get-up-and-go.  In fact, poor eating habits can elicit feelings of fatigue.  As such, the age-old caveats of "eat a healthy diet" (i.e. one that features an appropriate amount of vegetables, fruit, whole-grain foodstuff, and low-fat dairy products, as opposed to foodstuff with elevated levels of fat, sugar, or salt) and "don't skip meals" (particularly breakfast) remain as relevant and applicable as ever. Some good rules are:  1. If it has a commercial it's probably not good for you.  2. If it takes less than 1 minute and you don't have to do anything but put it in the microwave to make it, then it's probably not good for you.  3. If you can't pronounce a lot of the ingredients then it probably is not good for you.  4. FAST FOOD IS NOT GOOD FOOD!!!

3. Rest in peace.  Get enough sleep.  As a rule, most adults function best on about 7-8 hours of sleep.  In fact, not getting enough sleep or not experiencing quality sleep (i.e., relaxed restorative, undisturbed) is a common cause of fatigue during the day.  It also is important to note that it can take up to 2 hours for an individual's brain to become fully alert once a person wakes up.  Add a quick workout in the morning to get your senses awake and your blood flowing.  It will also help your metabolism speed up.  It is almost impossible now-a-days to get that kind of sleep.  Try to cut down on facebook time, T.V. time and get on a good schedule and routine.

4. Find inner peace.  Learn to relax.  Individuals should identify and address issues/problems in their lives that may be causing them to experience prolonged bouts of anxiety.  Studies show that constant anxiety can zap the body of energy.  One viable strategy in this regard is to learn and practice specific relaxation techniques (e.g., yoga or meditation) to help minimize the release of adrenaline.  Another possible step to counter any potential energy drain is to try to carve out some time each day to simply relax (i.e., do nothing).

5. Too much stimulation.  Don't overdose on caffeine. Too much caffeine, particularly in the evening, can lead to insomnia, which in turn can result in fatigue during a person's waking hours.  As a general rule, caffeinated drinks should be limited to no more than five per day.  In fact, as a pick-me-up, coffee tends to work in the short run.  On the other hand, ingesting an excessive amount of caffeine (i.e., the the exact amount is dependent on a number of factors and tends to vary from person to person) can cause a number of problematic side effects, including an upset stomach, irritability, accelerated heartbeat, and muscle tremors.  Also caffeinated drinks can dehydrate you and cause muscle cramps.  Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

6. Enough already.  Don't overeat or under-eat.  Eating too much can drain an individual's energy.  On the other hand, not eating enough can lower a person's metabolism level and cause them to feel lethargic.  The key for individuals is to consume enough food to meet their daily caloric needs (note: crash dieting is highly discouraged for anyone who wants to fire on all cylinders energy-wise),  but not too much.  Furthermore, snacking also can be an effective tool in an effort to maintain and/or boost energy.  Eating the right snacks at the right time over the course of the day can help prevent significant changes in the person's energy level. Calorie counting is extremely hard to do. Try to decrease the portion sizes when you eat.  Also if you like to have sweets (or cheat meals that aren't good for you but taste amazing) don't cut them completely out.  If you cut out stuff you love completely you are more likely to not stick to the "new" diet.  Just decrease the portions and eat it slower and enjoy it.  Snack recommendations:  Almonds, fruits and veggies.

7. It's just a job.  Reduce stress in the workplace.  More often than not, problems occur at work that lead to fatigue.  The key for individuals is to manage these situations so that these matters don't have a negative impact on their level of energy.  The first step in that regard is to put any problems into perspective.  In fact, no one's life is problem-free.  Every problem has a solution.  Every situation can be dealt with rationally, even if it eventually means finding a new job. Find ways at work to decrease your stress.  Get a small 10-20 minute workout in over lunch.  Leave work at work.  Don't take work home with you.  Write down everything that is on your mind prior to going to bed that way it is all out of your mind and on paper.  Then you can deal with it the next day and focus on getting good rest.

8. Lighten up on lighting up.  Don't smoke. In addition to being bad for a person's health, smoking also tends to be counterproductive to any attempt to have more energy.  For example, the body makes energy by combining glucose with oxygen.  On the other hand, cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, a substance that reduces the amount of oxygen available in the blood.  Not surprisingly smokers typically have lower energy levels than nonsmokers. From a medical standpoint smokers heal and recover from injuries and exercising slower than their non-smoking counterparts. It's proven that surgical patients that smoke take longer to heal. Smoking also has a negative effect (2nd hand smoke) on those around you.  Find a different habit.  Replace smoking with another habit that is healthier (i.e., boxing)

9. Laughter as medicine.  Incorporate fun in your life.  Individuals should do whatever they can to make sure that they have enough time for fun.  In fact laughter has been found to be a very effective energy booster.  Not only does it lift a person's mood and immune system, it also can elicit the release of beneficial hormones in the body. Schedule a get together with good friends.  Invite them over for tacos or rent a comedy and have them over.  If money is an issue then do things that cost little to nothing.  Make it a weekly or monthly thing.

10. A Cautionary note.  See a physician if it appears that nothing can be done to boost your energy level.  It is important to make sure that your persistent fatigue is not the result of an underlying medical problem. Sometimes it can be as simple as getting a Metabolic Panel (blood work) and adding a vitamin regime to your diet based on the results.  Consult your primary care physician and get this done.

Please visit my website PRECISION SPORTS TRAINING, LLC and find out how I can help.
E-mail and begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Information was taken from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).  Written by James A.  Peterson, Ph.D., FACSM.  My comments are in blue.

Let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover or research.  Thank you for reading.  Have an amazingly wonderful and EPIC day.