LifeTime WeightLoss Logo


« 10 Mistakes Exercise Enthusiasts Make | Main | The Healthy Way to Detox - Part 1 »
Sunday
Mar292015

Fighting Fatigue: 8 Ways to Enjoy More Energy

Who doesn’t want more energy? 

Second to fat loss, decreasing fatigue is a top goal for my clientele.

Although carrying extra weight on our frames can slow us down, there are so many other dietary choices and lifestyle elements that significantly impact our energy levels.

Are you tired of dealing with low energy, brain fog or afternoon slumps? Read on to learn my eight easy strategies for boosting energy right now! 

Hydrate.

Without a doubt, not drinking enough water each and every day is one of the most common reasons we feel tired or experience brain fog. Think of water as THE most essential nutrient for your body to function, including physical performance as well as cognitive function. In fact, research suggests that even slight dehydration (1-2% water loss) impacts our mental sharpness (1) or attentiveness.

Think of water as the nutrient that impacts our electrolyte balance or how “charged” our cells and organs are with energy. Hydration also impacts our blood thickness, which is imperative for maintaining the pace at which our heart sends nutrients and oxygen to our muscles and organs. If hydration isn’t optimal, both the charge of our electrolytes and the pace at which nutrients get to our cells slow down, resulting in low energy and mental haze.

Time to drink up! A good rule of thumb is half your weight in ounces of water each and every day. It's best to find a glass or stainless steel container to refill during the day. Fruits and vegetables are also mostly made up of water, so strive to get in your recommended 9-11 servings each day as well.   

Stand up.

It’s a sad fact. We’ve become an extremely sedentary society and are likely sitting ourselves to death. Whether we like it or not, most of us are working 8-10 hour shifts seated at a desk with minimal movement throughout the day. This type of behavior is hard on our bodies, which were made to move.

In fact, common physical consequences that stem from a desk job include not only fatigue but also pain and stiffness in the neck and back and full body soreness.  

If you often feel fatigue during the work day, try to make a point of standing up for ten minutes at a time, multiple times during the day. This will increase your blood pressure and get blood and oxygen flowing through your body more efficiently. 

These standing breaks can make all the difference in the world, whether you stay standing at your desk or (even better) take a quick walk or water break. If you often have hour-long meetings during the day, try standing up at various points then as well.

Standing or treadmill desks along with adjustable desktop or computer workstations have become more and more popular in recent years to help employees stay more active and productive during the work day. If this is an option where you work, request changes to your work area that allow you to take as many standing breaks as needed during the day!

Eat some fat.

Blood sugar imbalances are more common than most people think. In fact, most of my clients initially question the need to monitor or support blood sugar balance if they don’t have diabetes or insulin resistance. Blood sugars are everyone’s business – as they have a dramatic impact on how our bodies function and feel during the day.  

Most often, our diets are negatively impacting our blood sugars, causing a chain of energy and mood crashes during the day. The biggest culprits behind these are refined and heavily processed carbohydrates and sugars.  Overeating these foods can create a vicious cycle of up and down energy levels and food cravings.

One of the best dietary strategies is to eat fat the next time you're hungry. Fat has little impact on your blood sugar and provides a plethora of other benefits including satiation and improved mood. During the work day, prioritize nuts, seeds and other healthy fat snacks in between meals. At meal time, make sure you have healthy fat on your plate every time. Try to break the typical carb crash cycle by eating fat. You'll likely notice the more sustained energy right away.

Walk outside.

I’m a firm believe that fresh air can cure almost anything. Admittedly, this idea may be harder (or unappealing) during colder months of the year, but I always encourage my clients to have this option on standby when energy starts slowing down and the day is slowly ticking by. 

Additionally, our main source of Vitamin D is the sun itself, so it’s imperative to get outdoor exposure on a daily basis (20 minutes with no sunscreen) to help support optimal levels. Exposure to the sunshine vitamin along with some fresh air can be all you need to break up the day and refresh your energy and mood.

Plan a daily walk outside during your lunch break or a morning walk around your neighborhood to start your day more energized.

Take a nap.

Lately, you hear more and more companies supplying official “nap” rooms for employees who choose to spend their breaks dozing. Most of us know and understand why sleep is imperative for our health and weight. Nonetheless, most of us still struggle to get enough shut-eye in terms of quantity or quality. In my work with clients, I prioritize sleep deficits because they often feed all of the other energy suckers (e.g. poor food choices, etc.).

A nap can be a great way to offer respite to all that's overtaxed and reinvigorate your energy. If you work somewhere that supplies amenities, take advantage of them. If you have a short commute, consider going home to rest. If the thought of actually falling asleep during the workday doesn’t suit you, still take the time to rest and enjoy a genuine break. Reading a book, going for a short stroll or talking to a friend or loved one on the phone can help relieve the stress-fired systems in our bodies.

Assessing your sleep routine can also be a great starting point and long-term strategy to help improve your health. Think and assess your actual bedroom. Is there too much blue light at night? How is the comfort of your bed?

Do you have a regular, adequate bed time? When do you start getting ready for bed? You might need simple tweaks to your routine to support 7-8 hours of deep sleep, or you might need several adjustments. Start by figuring out what time you need to be in bed to allow your body an optimal amount of rest, and work backward from there.

Breathe in some peppermint.

For hundreds or, in many cases, thousands of years, people have regularly applied different essential oils for purposes of health and well-being. But did you know that inhaling certain scents could actually help boost mental clarity? Newer research has suggested that inhaling essential oils, such as peppermint, may reduce the perceived level of mental fatigue or burnout (2). 

Peppermint has a strong and clean aroma – making it a pleasant smell to breathe in, but you can also try applying it to the back of your neck and shoulders to help support your energy over a longer stretch of time. Keeping a bottle at work as a go-to (instead of more coffee) serves as a great strategy for enhancing energy and a great tool to keep your breath fresh.

Tame your technology.

We are constantly connected to our tech tools. Today it's not just about too much television. Most of us are getting a plethora of artificial light through computer monitors and smart phone use all day long.  

This “blue” light can increase our internal stress hormones, which can impact our energy levels. If you're in front of a monitor all day long, consider blue light blocking glasses for use, or try to take breaks from your screen whenever possible.

I often have to remind myself to take breaks – opting to not bring a tablet or smart phone with me when going to meetings or using a notebook or white board for note-taking, creative planning or writing as often as possible. When I get home for the day, I often observe a “no smart phone” rule for the rest of the night unless it’s an actual phone call from family or friends. No texts, no web surfing and no online shopping. As a result, I use my evening more wisely, feel more relaxed and get to bed on time.

Meditate.

Stress might be the greatest energy sucks of all time. Our lifestyles today and lack of balance are creating chronic stress for our bodies and adrenal glands, often leaving us with chronic fatigue, weight gain and a slew of other health conditions.

For some of us, just thinking about needing to manage our stress can be overwhelming, since we might believe we'll need to totally overhaul our habits and make major lifestyle changes. But one of the best strategies to attack stress now, and boost energy, is meditation. Not only has it been shown to lower cortisol (our stress hormone), but it’s also an easy behavior to practice compared to other healthy habits.  

I often encourage my clients to download a 5-minute meditation app on their phones to use regularly. Starting your morning with this practice will be a great long-term strategy to fight stress, boost your mood and enhance your energy every day.

Do you struggle with fatigue? Are you looking for an individualized plan or personal support to enjoy more energy? See one of our dietitians today!

In health, Anika Christ – Senior Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>