Do you ever moan about how you are constantly tired? You wake up feeling tired and never really feel wide awake for the rest of the day? Do you feel exhausted after work and have no desire to do anything in the evening? You go to bed early but your quality of sleep is poor? If you recognise these symptoms and constantly feel sluggish then the chances are you need to take steps to boost your energy levels. Here are ten top tips for adding some pizzazz back into your life.
Yes, it's obvious but you really do need to eat the right foods. Expert dieticians recommend you choose from all of the food groups, however 'live' foods, such as fruit and vegetables, are particularly good for adding bounce to your step and not your waistline. Avoid white potatoes, white rice, white flour, fast junk food and anything that is overly processed.
Keep an eye on your hydration levels because dehydration leads to tiredness and lethargy. Muscles contain 75% water and even a slight dip in your hydration levels mean that you will lose strength and speed. You should try to drink around 1 and ½ litres per day (around 10 glasses) and avoid excess consumption of salt. Remember that alcohol also dehydrates you so avoid drinking too much. One final thought, you may feel you are hungry when you're actually thirsty so try drinking a glass of water before reaching for a chocolate bar.
Keep Portion in Proportion
Eating a number of smaller meals is much better for your energy levels than eating one large one in the evening. You probably find that you feel very lethargic after eating a large dinner; this is because digesting a large meal makes your body tired. The golden rule is to never skip meals and in fact to eat little and often. Four or five smaller meals spaced evenly throughout the day will keep your energy levels constant and boost your mood.
Get Regular Exercise
Believe it or not but another way to keep your energy levels boosted is to exercise! No matter how tired you feel, a quick ten minute walk will increase your energy levels for two hours and get your serotonin flowing too, so that you feel good. Make sure you eat at least 15 minutes before you exercise, even if it is just a banana or a yoghurt. This will ensure your workout is most effective and you have the energy to do it.
Stimulants such as sugary foods, fizzy drinks, energy drinks, coffee, tea and smoking will only give you a short term high. They encourage a spike in your energy that quickly disappears leaving you feeling depleted when that energy is not replaced. It is far better to snack on wholegrain foods which release energy more slowly and consistently, while balancing your energy levels and avoiding energy dips.
When we're dieting we often forget that some types of fat are absolutely essential to our wellbeing. A proper intake of essential fats will increase energy levels and transport oxygen effectively throughout the body. Essential fats are vital for healthy red blood cells which in turn ensure our immune system functions at its very best. The best source of essential fats is found in Omega 3 foods such as oily fish, seeds, avocado and nuts.
Get Plenty of Sleep
You probably think it's odd that tips to boost your energy include advice on sleep, but poor sleep is a major source of fatigue. Are you getting enough sleep? The average adult needs a good 8 hours. If you can't fit 8 hours in to your day, is there any chance you could manage a power nap? This is particularly useful if you are a student or you are currently training or learning a number of new skills, as a nap replenishes lost energy and helps you to retain new information. Keeping on top of your sleep, helps you to handle stress too.
Stress is a huge drain on our energy levels because we expand a great deal of energy managing emotions, anxiety and anger. This is wearing and damaging. It sounds simplistic but you need to get a handle on exactly what is causing your stress and make sure you deal with it. Make simple changes and you'll soon feel back in control of your own life.
You can boost your energy levels by paying attention to your breathing. Part of the problem with a lack of energy is that our breathing is too shallow. We need to become aware of particularly panicky or stressed breathing and slow it down. Take time to feel the breath going in for a slow count of ten through the nose. Feel it filling your lungs and slowly exhale. Practice often and you will find yourself feeling calmer and more awake.
Positive Mental Attitude
Conflict is exhausting. If you hate your job, you're in a bad relationship or you hang around with negative people you are bound to feel tired and low in energy. Find ways to direct your thinking more positively. Steer your focus away from demanding thoughts that belittle you or make you feel guilty, and instead focus on ideas that empower you and make you feel good about yourself.
Make choices that empower you and you'll have more energy in no time! Good luck.
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February 12, 2014