Americans, particularly women, are chronically sleep deprived. Inadequate sleep not only sucks the life out of your daily activities, it is actually damaging to your health, too. Sleep experts recommend a nightly seven to nine hours of solid sleep. Adjust your schedule to accommodate sufficient sleep and you'll be surprised how much more energy you have.
If the mere thought of exercise tires you, stop thinking and start moving. Believe it or not, expending energy actually begets energy. Physical activity strengthens your muscles and bones, making it easier for you to do your daily activities and it also boosts your immune system, which can protect you from cold- and flu-induced lethargy. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise every day.
One or two large meals a day is a surefire recipe for fatigue. A large meal requires digestive energy, taking energy away from your brain and the rest of your body, and it causes an eventual blood sugar crash, which will also leave you in a heap of tired. Starting with breakfast, have four to six smaller meals — eating every three to four hours. This will keep you from feeling physically and mentally sluggish and will help keep your blood sugar stable.
Whether it is a snack or substantial meal, make sure it is comprised of complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits and vegetables), protein (lean meats, eggs, nuts, soy, and low-fat dairy), and healthy fats (olives, olive oil, avocado, flax and fatty fish). Having all three nutrients in a meal will better ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs while helping to maintain stable blood sugar.
Dehydration is a common culprit in fatigue. Start your day with a tall, cold glass of water and continue to drink a glass every two hours. (Experts recommend eight (8-ounce) glasses of water every day.) Staying hydrated will not only keep your energy up, it also improves your metabolism and other bodily functions.
No surprise, stress is an energy-suck. It tires your mind and your body in addition to taking a toll on your immune system and health. Take 20 minutes every day to relax and de-stress. Do yoga, meditation, or simple deep breathing. Get a massage, go for a walk or take a quiet bubble bath. Incorporating daily de-stress measures will unburden your mind and body and help unleash your inner energy.
Having something fun to look forward to every day will boost your mental — and physical — energy. Schedule a lunch date with a friend, plan a park outing with your kids, make a date with your spouse or significant other — just make sure that you plan something you find enjoyable. That alone will give you an extra push to bound out of bed with élan.
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