HEALTH

Shop­ping, par­ties, work dead­lines, or­gan­is­ing menus… Here’s how to in­crease your stamina this hol­i­day sea­son.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Stress less and feel good these hol­i­days.

WA­TER’S UP

Un­less you sip wa­ter through­out the night, the first thing to reach for af­ter the alarm goes off is a big glass of wa­ter. Kate Di Prima, ac­cred­ited prac­tis­ing di­eti­tian and spokesper­son for the Di­eti­tians As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia (DAA), says stay­ing hy­drated is a big en­ergy booster. “You lose wa­ter overnight. Cof­fee and teas are di­uret­ics, so start the day with wa­ter in­stead,” she says.

It is a mat­ter of per­sonal choice, but plenty of stud­ies show that ex­er­cis­ing first thing in the morn­ing can ben­e­fit your health – and con­trary to what you might think, reg­u­lar ex­er­cise gives you more en­ergy than if you give it a miss.

Syd­ney-based per­sonal trainer Sam Part­ner says it’s fine to shorten your ex­er­cise rou­tine dur­ing this busy time of year but be con­sis­tent. “I’d be in­clined to choose a high-in­ten­sity work­out be­cause you’ll be more en­er­gised and less fa­tigued af­ter that,” she says. “Do a short, sharp 30 to 40-minute cir­cuit at the gym. Try three min­utes hard on the crosstrainer, then add some body­weight ex­er­cises, like squats and lunges, and then go back to some more car­dio for an­other three or four min­utes so you get a cir­cuit hap­pen­ing.”

THE BEST BREAK­FAST

Skip­ping break­fast is a no-no. First thing, your en­ergy stores can be down by as much as 80 per cent from the pre­vi­ous night.

Kate says it’s im­por­tant to com­bine qual­ity pro­teins and car­bo­hy­drates to sus­tain en­ergy. She sug­gests eggs, smoked salmon or oats sup­ple­mented with pro­tein pow­der and nat­u­ral yo­ghurt. Try to aim for up to 20 grams of pro­tein com­bined with car­bo­hy­drates per meal. “This pro­vides the long, sus­tain­able en­ergy re­lease you need,” she says. For more on healthy eat­ing, go to the

Eat for Health web­site at eat­forhealth.gov.au.

MORN­ING MUNCHIES

It’s easy to form work­place rit­u­als, like a mid­morn­ing cof­fee or en­ergy drink with a sneaky sweet treat to back it up. While there is noth­ing wrong, per se, with hav­ing a small cof­fee, skip the su­gar-laden snacks and soft drinks. Kate says some peo­ple need to eat ev­ery three hours. If that sounds like you, she sug­gests a 100g yo­ghurt tub, a small piece of fresh fruit or a fist­ful of nuts, like al­monds.

LUNCH IN THE PARK

Mak­ing your own lunch is a great way to save money and keep tabs on your waist­line and en­ergy lev­els. Aim for a salad with lean pro­tein, such as omega-3 rich fish (mack­erel, smoked salmon or sar­dines), skin­less chicken or a three-bean mix. Then take it out­doors. “Eat in the park. Vi­ta­min D is a fan­tas­tic en­ergy booster, and even go­ing for a half-hour walk af­ter you’ve eaten is a great tonic. What­ever you do, don’t be a key­board di­eter

[eat­ing at your desk],” says Kate.

SNACK AT­TACK

Who hasn’t ex­pe­ri­enced that mid-af­ter­noon slump? Now, while it would be so easy to reach for the sug­ary treats, like choco­late or lol­lies, Kate says you’d be far bet­ter off mak­ing “a re­fresh­ing drink, such as a diet lemon cor­dial with fresh mint leaves and iced wa­ter”. She also rec­om­mends herbal teas, a green smoothie or ice-cold wa­ter.

DIN­NER & DRINKS

If you ex­er­cise at the end of the day, plan din­ner ahead of time so you don’t eat too late. Make sure your diet has enough iron: aim for at least two meals a week with lean red meat and ve­g­ies. Although it’s party sea­son, Kate rec­om­mends four al­co­hol-free nights a week. “Al­co­hol is not an en­ergy booster and it can dis­rupt sleep pat­terns,” she says. If that’s not re­al­is­tic, opt for spir­its with low-kilo­joule mix­ers, like gin and diet tonic or a spritzer wine.

GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

Even when you have things to do, it’s im­por­tant to switch off. And that means no phones, tablets or lap­tops for at least one hour be­fore you go to bed, as stud­ies have shown that the blue light these de­vices emit can af­fect your sleep. En­sure your bed­room is a sanc­tu­ary for sleep so that you’re ready to do it all again to­mor­row.

FILL IT UP Eva Solo carafe, $69.95, and Vizio tum­bler, $38.95 for 6, from Zanui.

Let there be light Vi­ta­min D boosts en­ergy lev­els, so let in the sun­light!

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