Surprising Keys to ALL-DAY ENERGY
Here’s welcome news: Slacking off a bit on your wellness routine can actually boost your vitality! “I was able to lose 20 pounds and feel so much stronger with a highintensity interval training program.”
Queen Latifah, 47
Sometimes our good intentions have us trying too hard — even when it comes to staying healthy. Case in point: antibacterial soaps. When they emerged about a decade ago, we were eager to add them to our germ-fighting arsenal. “Problem is, we now know antibacterial soaps don’t offer any health edge,” notes Stuart Levy, M.D., director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University in Boston. “They’ve shown no benefits over plain soap and water when it comes to protecting against illness.” In fact, the FDA has now banned soaps with the antibacterial chemical triclosan, which contributes to antibiotic resistance and has been linked to thyroid troubles.
Skipping antibacterial soap isn’t the only example of how easing up on strict standards can be beneficial to your health, notes Dr. Levy. Read on for two more let-it-slide strategies that will help optimize your energy and your well-being.
SHORTEN YOUR WORKOUTS
Lengthy sweat sessions may seem like the gold standard for health, but in addition to leaving you feeling totally burned-out, research shows they aren’t the most effective getfit strategy. What is: brief bursts of exercise. As fitness expert JJ Virgin, Ph.D., author of The Virgin Diet, explains, “Just 60 seconds of exercising at maximum capacity creates an oxygen debt the body has to repay, which it does by burning more fat.”
The payoff: Studies show that highintensity interval training helps women lose nine times more fat than endurance exercise. Intervals also help control blood sugar, warding off the dips that sap energy. To get the perks, Virgin suggests jumping rope or doing jumping jacks as intensely as you can for 60 seconds, then resting for 2 minutes; repeat 4 to 6 times.
RELAX YOUR DIET
Avoiding processed fats and vegetable oils like corn, soy and canola is smart since they trigger inflammation linked to weight gain, heart disease and more—but being too strict a fat cutter can backfire. “Your body uses fat to make hormones, provide energy and absorb fat-soluble vitamins, so fatigue and weight gain can occur if you don’t get enough,” says Virgin. She advises enjoying two to three servings of healthy fat at each meal in the form of avocados, olive oil, oily fish, grass-fed meats and seeds. She adds that there’s no need to count or measure fats when they come from a variety of whole foods.
Also smart: Choose frozen fruit and vegetables over “fresh” offseason produce, which is picked before it’s ripe and hasn’t reached optimal nutrient content.