Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Runnin' On Empty

I know that during these dreary, cold winter days, it's more difficult to keep those energy levels up.  But, if you're not careful, you could be on the slippery slope to chronic fatigue.

Fatigue is an ailment that affects most, if not all people, at some point in their lives.  The key is to not let it stay for a prolonged period of time.  The reason that fatigue is so damaging to you health is because it is a negative stressor on your body. It does things such as release cortisol, the stress hormone, decrease metabolism, cause dehydration, headaches, anxiety, and a whole lot of other unhealthy things.  When your body gets into a rut of chronic fatigue, you will not only feel crummy and tired all the time, but your body will be running at a sub-optimal level.  And this sub-optimal level could actually lead to stress related diseases such at Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and others.

So what can you do to fuel up your tank?  Here's a couple easy, everyday changes that you can make to your routine to help boost your energy levels.  Now, they may be difficult at first, but once you do them for a while, it will be like second nature, and before you know it, you'll be able to feel the extra energy.

1- Get more & regular sleep.  Our bodies function on what's called a Circadian Rhythm.  When you get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep by going to bed and waking at the same time, your body will be able to get into a groove and you will feel more rested and energized.

2 - Exercise.  It kind of sounds counter productive.  Use energy to get more energy?  But it's true.  When you exercise regularly, you increase specific hormones which in turn can increase your metabolism and you also get more oxygen into your system for better cellular recovery and energy levels.  The key is to not overdo it and give yourself some recuperation time.

3 - Drink!  Just water though.  Anytime that you feel thirsty, your body is telling you that you are at least mildly dehydrated.  And even mild dehydration can lead to stressors such as anxiety, depression, aggravation, and other energy suckers.  So make sure you're drinking at least 64 ounces or water per day.

4 - Chow down.  Food is energy.  And your body needs the right kind of food to keep up your energy levels.  You should be eating a large breakfast (Breakfast like a King) with foods that have a low glycemic index.  This essentially means that the food will be digested and broken down for a longer period of time.  It's like a time-release capsule, you'll be getting the energy (calories-yes you need calories) for a longer period of time instead of all at once like if you were to eat a 3 Musketeers.  In general, low glycemic index foods include proteins, fats, and complex carbs.

So you can try all four right away or just try one of the suggestions and see how you feel after a week, then a month, then a year and I'm sure you'll be able to tell the difference.

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