3 Steps to MORE ENERGY
Recharge and renew with our easy-to-follow ideas.
#1 EAT FOR ENERGY
The more energy you have, the more you can do and the happier you feel. Unfortunately, not having enough energy is all too common. The last thing you need in an already busy life is an over-demanding diet and exercise schedule, so just focus on three key areas – eating, exercise and sleep. Carbohydrates, fat and protein are stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. If you eat the wrong foods, or eat too much or too little of various foods, you may deplete your body of glycogen, n, and your physical and mental performance will suffer.
For a healthy immune system, muscles and nerves – all important for energy – you need: vitamin B12 (found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products), folic acid (wholegrain cereals, liver, dark green leafy vegetables and nuts), vitamin C (citrus fruit and vegetables), vitamin E (nuts, eggs), magnesium (pasta, dried fruit) and potassium (bananas, carrots, broccoli). >> ENERGY IN A GLASS Make a delicious fruit drink – the concentrated vitamins and minerals in it will give you a natural high. • Mix equal parts fresh pineapple juice and low-fat milk for a vitamin-packed smoothie. • Blend a banana or any soft fruit, such as strawberries or peaches (tinned will do), with a third of a pint of milk and a teaspoon of honey. >> BREAKFAST BOOSTERS For optimum energy, start the day with a good breakfast. People who eat healthily first thing tend to be more alert throughout the day, are slimmer, consume less fat and have a higher vitamin intake than those who don’t, according to several studies.
Dr Christine Fenn describes the ideal energy breakfast in her book The Energy
Advantage. She says it should contain: tea – herbal, weak black or green; either food packed with carbohydrates, such as wholemeal toast spread with honey or food high in protein, such as natural yogurt and almonds, or eggs.
#2 EXERCISE ENERGY FOR
When you’re feeling tired, being active may seem like the last thing you need, but exercise increases your energy levels as well as helps you relax and cope better with stress. It also strengthens the bones, tones the muscles, oxygenates the blood and raises levels of endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormones – all of which will help you to achieve more in the day and feel less tired.
The key, according to physiologist Di Swanson, is not how hard you exercise, but how often. She recommends half an hour of moderate-intensity activity a day – that can be a full half-hour, two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute bouts. “Exercise must be intense enough to make you warm and breathe more heavily than usual,” she says.
#3 SLEEP FOR ENERGY
You will never enjoy your maximum energy potential if you don’t have enough sleep. Sleep allows your mind and body to rest, heal and renew – and a lack of it makes you irritable, lowers your concentration, affects your memory and can even cause depression. • At least one night a week, go to bed really early and get a full night’s sleep – this will prove enormously restorative and make up for a couple of short nights in one go. • Take “power naps”. Even 10 minutes with your eyes closed can help refresh you. • Take turns with Hubby to have a lie-in on alternate days at the weekend – for example, you on Saturday morning, him on Sunday morning.
SMART SNACKING Eat small amounts of wholefoods often to keep your energy up, says nutritionist Maryon Stewart. “You need to eat regularly to maintain levels of glucose in the blood, as glucose is your body’s main source of energy.” Try sunflower seeds, unsalted nuts or rye crackers with peanut butter for a sustained rise in blood glucose through the day.