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improving your energy level
improving your energy level
One of the most consistent complaints of aging is the lack of energy. Age and fatigue just seems to be synonymous – so what is the connection – and is there anything we can do about it?
One recent report that’s good news about aging and energy indicates there are things we can do to boost our energy levels as we age. The Harvard Medical School Special Health Report, “Boosting Your Energy,” presents a plan to regulate your energy levels at any age.
Some of the steps on the plan include:
Get stress under control. Stress is the most common reason for chronic fatigue. If you have trouble controlling stress, try seeing a therapist or chatting with a trusted friend. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi and meditation also work wonders.
Say “no” to more obligations. Some of us are stressed because we have too much on our plates. Learning to say “no” rather than “yes” to every volunteer job, social activity or work project is one of the best ways to restore your energy levels.
Exercise on a regular basis. When we exercise, we inundate our bodies with fuel for energy to do more. You’ll also be building capillaries, the blood vessels which carry oxygen to the cells. Exercise also creates the stress hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine, that help us feel more energized.
Get enough sleep. The aging population often complains of lack of sleep as part of the reasons for lack of energy during the day. It’s best to use natural methods rather than sleeping pills. Changing your lifestyle such as drinking less alcohol during the evening hours and avoiding heavy meals before bedtime can enhance your sleep experience.
Spend your energy wisely. Spend some time setting goals that will bring enjoyment to your life and fill your mind with determination to meet the goals. Prioritize your days so that you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when the day is over.
Adopt an energy-inducing diet. Diet becomes even more important as you age. Energy foods such as fruits and vegetables are paramount to maintaining energy and keeping your body healthy so it’s ready to meet the challenges of aging.
Sometimes aging is more a state-of-mind than the state of our bodies. Find something you enjoy doing and make sure you prioritize those activities into your daily plans. Surround yourself with positive people who enjoy doing some of the things you love and you’ll be more energetic and ready to meet life head on.
Fight Fatigue with These Energy-Boosting Foods
Feeling sluggish every day? You’re not alone. Many men and women wake up tired, and go through their day feeling exhausted. In an effort to stay awake and function, they turn to food – but it’s the sugary, high caffeine options that have them crashing 30 minutes to an hour later.
You can use food to provide energy to your body, but it has to be done the right way. For instance, if you’re used to eating a chocolate candy bar for energy, then switch to a couple of ounces of dark chocolate instead.
You get the caffeine and sugar, but also the health benefits of this wonderful food and in moderation, you won’t suffer from the typical sugar crash you have after a milk chocolate candy bar.
Flavor your meal with some spicy herbs for a quick energy boost. Foods with capsaicin – like hot chili peppers – can boost your energy and provide other health benefits, too.
If you need a snack to wake up and get tasks done, reach for a banana. The potassium helps keep your blood sugar levels stable so that you don’t have that midday crash in energy.
A great high fiber, high carb snack that won’t pack on pounds is popcorn. Eat the healthier versions, not those laden with tons of movie theater butter slathered all over it.
Iron-rich foods like leafy green vegetables can supply you with tons of energy. When your iron levels wane, it makes you feel weak and lethargic. Try greens like kale, spinach, collard, mustards and turnips.
Fresh fruit can do the job! Grab a handful of grapes, or use citrus fruits as a quick pick-me-up. Oranges, or even lemon added to your water, can perk you up if you start slumping.
Find a food cooked with curry! Not only is it delicious, but curry stabilized blood sugar to prevent crashes – and it also helps with the circulation in your body to keep your body well oxygenated.
And don’t forget water. Although it’s a drink and not a food, it’s what helps keep your body operating in tip top shape at a cellular level. Without proper hydration, it won’t matter what foods you eat because the nutrients won’t be able to do their job.
Boost Your Energy the Natural Way
When you think of increasing your energy levels, there are not a lot of natural alternatives that come to mind. You might think the only ways to boost your energy levels include drinking coffee, energy drinks or taking some sort of stimulant. This is simply not true. There are a number of ways you can ramp up your energy, and do it naturally, that will both contribute to your fitness and to your optimal health.
Eat the Right Foods
Get rid of processed carbs in your diet altogether, if possible. Instead, include natural starchy carbohydrates at the proper times (like after your workout) and watch your energy levels come to life. The steady energy release from slow-burning carbohydrate sources like oatmeal and yams will sustain you throughout the day and you won’t experience sugar-like energy crashes. Filling up with fiber from whole natural foods will help you digest your food more slowly. This will provide you with prolonged energy for hours.
Eat a high protein, high fat, low carb breakfast. This will keep you in fat-burning mode while keeping your cravings at bay. Eating more healthy fats will give you a surge in energy without the crash. If you start your day with sugary carbs, you’ll crave more and more junk food all day long. Also, avoiding excess caffeine and nixing the sugar will work in your favor when it comes to boosting your natural energy levels.
If you’re thirsty, you’re going to feel hungry and sleepy and your energy levels will most likely plummet. Make sure you get at least 8 glasses of water or more per day to maintain both health and energy levels.
You can also add green tea to your drink menu. It has some naturally occurring caffeine, but it’s also chock full of antioxidants and other health boosting nutrients to fuel your energy levels.
Use Natural Supplements
Make sure you get your vitamins and minerals. Yes, eating a variety of vibrant fibrous veggies, fresh organic and preferably grass-fed meats will ensure you are not left with nutritional deficiencies. You can also try some natural supplements like tyrosine. It’s an amino acid that will boost you up. Get it from foods like cottage cheese, eggs and even smoked salmon.
Get a great sleep. Sleep in a cool dark room and try to wake up at the same time daily so your body can get into a rhythm. Shut down the television, laptops and any other electronics and develop a pre-bedtime ceremony to help you wind down at night like light reading or a candlelit bubble bath.
Stretch and breathe. Stretching gives your body a much needed break while increasing your circulation. Get the blood flowing and take slow deep breaths to relax and revive.
Now that you know the secrets to natural energy, you won’t have to find yourself in that afternoon slump, or dragging through your day. Instead, you’ll have the sustained strength and vitality you need to accomplish everything on your daily list and more.
Supplements for Energy – Do They Really Work?
Energy supplements are the newest trend for those of us who aren’t getting all the energy-boosting nutrients that we need in our diets. We also live in a stressful world that can zap our energy and leave us mired in things to do and not enough energy to do them.
Although there aren’t a lot of published, scientific studies to show that energy supplements can make a difference, there are some natural and synthetic products that lead the rest in popularity:
Vitamin B-12 – Many people get Vitamin B-12 shots from their health care providers to give them a boost of energy. A blood test can determine if you need to take Vitamin B-12 supplements.
Ginseng – A natural herb that may be able to reduce lethargy and fatigue. Taken in the proper doses, it may help boost your energy level, but could be harmful if you don’t know how much to take.
Co-Q-10 – This enzyme is very popular right now and has been scientifically proven to safely improve energy levels in those people with heart disease or who are plagued with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) – A hormone that is taken to boost energy, but it has some risks to your health, so be sure you check with your health care professional before beginning a DHEA regimin.
Ginkgo Biloba – Many claim that ginkgo biloba immediately boosts energy levels, but it may also make your blood thinner, so don’t use this supplement if you have a blood problem or are taking any type of blood-thinning medications.
Bee Pollen – This natural food source has been labeled a superfood by many. It contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, carbohydrates, enzymes and amino acids as well as antibiotics that can help your immune system.
Amino Acids – These substances are necessary for us to digest proteins properly. One of the amino acid substances is Creatine, which can help build muscle and stave off fatigue. It’s often used for those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Even some natural energy supplements can be detrimental to your health – so use according to direction and also take into consideration any conditions you may have or medications that you may take.
There are many vitamin supplements that could help you get the energy you need for your busy daily lifestyle, but you should carefully research these substances and consult a physician before taking them on a regular basis.
Also, keep in mind that you should also practice a healthy lifestyle and eat a diet rich in nutrients and vitamins to make the most of the energy that you naturally produce. Those with chronic energy issues may greatly benefit from the use of supplements.
Natural Energy Boosters
You probably already know some of the natural energy boosters that can get your mind and body going – like a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar or high calorie snack. The problem with those boosters is that they only last a very short amount of time.
Then, when you come down from the temporary high, you’re likely to feel more sluggish and lethargic. Here are some ways you can boost your energy levels naturally – and that you may not know about:
Get up and move. Many of us spend hours sitting at our desks, hunched over a computer and trying to complete enormous workloads. Simply standing by your desk is a small break that can give you a perk that will help you rev up your brain and your body. Walk around if you can and get the added benefit of better blood flow.
Use EFT. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is now being used as a coaching method to relieve stress, produce more T-cells, increase your strength and well-being and boost your energy.
To boost your energy level, tap your thymus gland (it’s in the center, top portion of your chest, between the collar bone and breast area) using the tips of your fingers for about twenty seconds. Take deep breaths during the tapping exercise.
Get energy from the sun. Especially during winter months, we tend to stay indoors, in cramped and stuffy offices and don’t get enough sun. If you’re feeling lethargic, try to spend a few minutes out in the sun and see how your mood improves.
Afternoon tea. The British were on to something when they began afternoon tea breaks to renew your vitality and perk up your brainpower. Green tea is especially great for getting rid of that afternoon sagging feeling.
Blink. When you think that your head is about to fall on your desk top, try blinking exercises. Rather than staring at pages or a computer screen, blink about ten to twenty times during one minute. This will relieve your brain of stress and make it more active.
Deep breathing. This is one of the most useful methods you can have in your arsenal of energizers. A quick search on Google for Yoga deep-breathing exercises can tell you all you need to know about using your rhythmic breath to relax and relieve stress.
If you consistently experience afternoon slumps, think about what you had for lunch. Heavy, carb-laden foods can make you tired and sleepy during afternoon hours. And, are you getting enough sleep?
You have to get a good night’s rest to be alert and able to function at your best during the daylight hours. Assess your lifestyle, change some bad habits into good ones and you should feel your energy return.
How Saunas Help Your Body Detox
Although most people really don’t like it, sweating is actually good for your body. But thanks to the ultra convenient lifestyles of today, sweating isn’t something that a lot of people do.
We go from air conditioned homes to air conditioned vehicles to air conditioned offices and shopping places. But this lack of sweating can cause your body to keep toxins trapped inside.
Toxins enter the body one of two ways – either through the mouth or through the skin. When you sweat, your body gets out the toxins and can prevent a build up. Sweating opens up your pores to get out the toxins.
Not only do you feel better and look better, but your skin will also look younger and healthier. While normal sweating can help, it can’t really do the level of detox like a sauna can.
That’s because using a sauna causes you to sweat a lot more than you normally would. If you could check what your sweat contains, you’d see that it was made up of toxins – including airborne ones like pesticides that are sprayed in homes and on plants.
In a sauna, your body also works to release toxins that have been stored in the tissues. It basically forces them loose and then eliminates them. Studies have shown that saunas are effective in detoxification based on the amount of sweat your body will produce in the higher temperature.
Your body will get rid of toxins like uric acid, which is a waste product. And it’s a toxin. If uric acid builds up in the body, it can lead to things like kidney problems. Not only can saunas help your body detoxify from uric acid, but also from toxins from metals, chemicals, household cleaners, and from the medication that you take or put on your skin.
When you use a sauna, your heart rate goes higher – and this is a good thing. That faster heart rate is what will give you a better blood flow. The increase in blood flow will then turn around and help you get the toxins out of your body faster.
Not only that, but there’s a correlation between the temperature of the sauna and the benefit it gives your immune system. When you get a fever, it raises your body temperature to kill off whatever is making you sick.
In a sauna, the increased temperature helps your body fight things that can make you sick. It used to be that if you wanted the detoxification benefit from using a sauna, you had to leave your house to go to one.
But today, you can buy a sauna that you can use right in the comfort of your own home – and they’re affordable. You can find both steam and dry heat saunas for home use.
How Does Food Affect Your Workout?
Not reaching your fitness goal could be, in part, about what you eat. To work at maximum efficiency, the body needs food that contains these three macronutrients:
However, just eating all three is not enough; you also need the right type and amount of each macronutrient to get the maximum benefit from your workout.
As you exercise, tiny tears occur in your muscle fibers; protein not only helps repair these tears, but it helps build muscle too, so your body is ready for your next workout. To get the maximum benefit from this macronutrient, 20% of your daily calorie intake should come from a low saturated fat protein source, such as lean red meat, pork, poultry, beans, seafood, eggs or dairy products.
The body produces energy from carbohydrates by breaking them down into glucose. Glucose is then converted into energy at the cellular level through a process called metabolism. However, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Of the two, the complex type is the best for you when you work out because they break down slower thus providing your body with more energy over a longer time. An average of 50% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates; however, only 10% of these calories should come from simple carbohydrates, which are most of the sugars. Good sources of complex carbohydrates include potatoes and whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, and brown rice.
For a long time the fats got a bad rap. However, multiple studies have shown that we need about 30% of our daily calories from fat (and the right type of fat) for our bodies to work efficiently. Because certain nutrients are only fat-soluble, those nutrients are flushed from the body unprocessed if you are not eating enough fat.
There are three types of fats:
Trans fat is a manufactured fat found in highly processed foods, such as baked goods. It shows up on nutrition labels listed as either hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening. However, because the body does not metabolize trans fats, it ends up staying in the blood stream and can eventually cause heart disease. Avoid trans fat at all costs!
For over 60 years, we have known too much saturated fat is not good for you. Commonly found in marbled red meats, whole dairy products, butter and certain oils, such as coconut, palm and palm kernel, only 7% of our daily fat requirement should come from saturated fat.
These are the good fats – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated – and they should make up the rest of your daily fat requirement. Sources include some types of oils, such as olive, canola, safflower, sunflower and soy, along with avocados, most nuts, and the oily fishes: salmon, tuna and mackerel.
By eating the right types of macronutrients (and in the right quantities), not only will you have the energy to get you through a workout, but also what it takes to repair and build muscle, and refuel your body for the next workout.
Can Juicing Help Improve Fitness?
Fitness is always a hot topic. Whether we want to get fit to lose weight, to have more energy, or to feel better about ourselves, we’re always looking for ways that’ll make the whole process easier. Juicing is one health trend that’s really taken off in recent years, but does it really work to improve your fitness?
Diet Changes to Break Through Plateaus
The secret to improving your fitness level is to keep your body guessing. This means never stick to the same exercise or diet routine. In reference to a diet plateau, this happens when you consume the same types of foods, such as whole grains and fresh, raw foods for a long period of time. When you have plateaued your diet needs a jump-start. This is when you can begin introducing the process of juicing. Juicing restarts your body so you can continue to work hard at improving your fitness goals.
Juicing is a form of concentrating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables that assist in keeping your fitness routine on track. Just one glass can help you get more nutrients in your body and improve your fitness. Juicing is able to increase your metabolism, get you physically stronger, reduce the chance of injury, and your ability to reach and maintain your fitness goals will increase.
When working on a fitness routine, there is a possibility that you may become injured. When you are injured, inflammation is likely to occur in the joint areas. Juicing neutralizes the acidity of the injured area and reduces the inflammation. Through this process, as you continue juicing, you will also experience other benefits, such as a rise in your metabolism, ability to process the nutrients from juicing to provide you with increased energy that will not be stored as fat, and a strong body with a reduction in injuries.
Including juicing in your fitness program will show you the power it has of increasing your physical energy so you can perform more efficiently. As energy increases, your hormones balance out and your digestion improves. This is not energy that comes with highs and lows. It is a sustained energy to support you through all your workouts, where you have the ability to exercise with great effort.
But remember – juicing alone is not what’ll make you fit. You must combine it with exercise!