Unbalanced lifestyle choices can trigger emotional and physical chaos creating an invisible “vampire” that depletes all energy. Remember, you are the choices you make. Positive choices bring vitality and vigor to your inner and outer life allowing you to stay in touch with your heart and soul. Live your life with purpose, passion and strive to be the best person within.
Top 3 energy drainers in women:
1. Putting the needs and wants of others ahead of your own.
2. Chronic Stress- worry over family, finances and career.
3. Bad health habits:
• excess alcohol consumption- interrupts your sleep pattern, depletes your body’s vitamin B level
• smoking- reduces circulation, oxygen intake resulting in shortness of breath
• Excess caffeine consumption- temporarily increases energy level but is followed by an immediate energy crash due to a sudden fall in blood sugar level. Caffeine can make you extremely nervous irritable and can cause peptic ulcers and headaches. Like alcohol, caffeine can interrupt sleep patterns as well.
• Over and under eating- overeating is usually triggered emotional stress or deep rooted issues. Eating large quantities leave you feeling sluggish, tired and full of guilt and shame. Under eating slows your metabolism, insufficient source of nutrients to the body and deteriorates your body’s healthy organs and bones.
• lack of physical activity
• lack of sleep
5. Dehydration- water is a major source of energy. Dehydration can result in headaches, fatigue and a slowed heart rate.
Keep your energy levels high by avoiding these energy-zapping foods:
• Sugar- sends your body on an insulin roller coaster. Spikes and immediate falls in energy.
• Processed foods- often contain many harmful chemicals such as artificial sweeteners, high fructose syrups, hydrogenated oils, processed milk or soy products.
• Simple carbohydrates such as soft drinks, chips, sugary cereals, cookies. Simple carbs quickly turn to sugar release large amounts of insulin into the blood stream and results in energy spikes and falls.
Achieving a high-energy day:
• Put fitness first
• Put a meal plan into play- eat smart and eat often!
• Connect with friends- helps counteract stress and releases the calming neurotransmitter, oxytocin
• Set aside time to meditate, sit quietly or reflect
• Create a relaxing environment by incorporating your favorite music, aromatherapy and natural light
• Allow time for creativity through hobbies such as gardening, music and art
• Connect with nature by going for a walk outside, remembering to take a moment or two to smell the roses
• Release negative energy by forgiving yourself, learning from your mistakes and making the decision to appreciate the little things in life.
• Bring yourself into the present moment by not worrying about the past or the future. The past is gone and the future is unknown.
Begin your day with a healthy/hearty breakfast. Incorporate protein such as eggs, veggies like spinach and asparagus and fresh fruit. We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day in order to keep energy levels high and the brain functioning at an optimal level.
Snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. This will keep you from over indulging at lunch/dinner and keep your energy and metabolism high.
Take a brisk walk during lunch or a group fitness class if time permits. Filling your lungs with fresh air and keep your body in motion. Eat a high protein/high fiber lunch. Vegetables are packed with fiber, antioxidants and nutrients. The combination of protein and fiber will leave you full and feeling satisfied.
Take a mid-afternoon break from your desk or get outside of the workplace. A brisk 10 minute walk can allow time to refocus you eyes and energy, get some vitamin D and fill your lungs with fresh air.
Take a yoga class to relax and decompress from the day
Have dinner with family, friends or loved ones. Making personal connections are vital to emotional and physical happiness.
End the day with a warm, relaxing bath and climb into bed at a decent hour with a good book.
Physical activity and how it positively/negatively affects your energy level:
• Physical activity gets your blood and energy flowing throughout the body. Endorphins, released while exercising, are a natural energy booster. Movement also increases the body’s oxygen supply to vital organs like the heart, veins, muscles and brain. Add stretching or yoga to restore and balance your energy that is charged after physical movement.
• Over-exercising can cause damage to your body and leave you emotionally flat. Avoid repetitve movements like long distance running day after day. Break up your workout regimen. Excessive repetitive exercises can lead to muscular imbalances leading to injury and muscle fatigue causing the body to release stress hormones. Stress hormones are catabolic, tissue destructive and will prohibit formation of additional healthy muscle tissue. Overuse of the body leads to adrenal fatigue and high cortisol levels.
The key is to train the body, not drain the body!
Indirect energy zappers:
• Lack of sunlight, dark/gloomy paint colors
• Negative friends, co-workers, family members
• Putting others first
• Silent judgment of self and others- focusing on the negative, finding flaws in yourself and others
• Bitterness- holding onto the past, holding grudges
• Clutter- physical clutter = mental clutter. Clutter bogs you down with the feeling of defeat and lack of choices. Also results in procrastination.
• Electronic pollution- settle the mind and restore energy by turning off the TV and close the inbox
• Lack of Vitamin C- necessary for the immune system and aids in digestion
• Lack of Vitamin B- necessary for the immune system, nervous system, helps combat daily stress, anxiety and fatigue
Favorite/recommended energy foods:
1. Lean organic protein- rich in iron which leads to hemoglobin production. These blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen in the body. Low oxygen equals low energy.
2. Spinach- one of nature’s true “super foods”! Spinach is packed with full of minerals, vitamins. Easy to incorporate as a side dish, in an omelet or salad.
3. Oranges- an orange has 10 times more vitamin C and beta-carotene, 4 times more thiamin and forty times more foliate than an apple.
Other energy foods:
• Brain foods such as eggs, nuts, broccoli, cauliflower and lean proteins and reap the energy boosting benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids.
• Bananas, rich in calcium (good for bones), potassium (needed to maintain healthy blood pressure) and healthy carbohydrates (springboards endurance levels) will give an instant boost, restore blood sugar levels and help during workout recovery.
• Low Sodium foods will keep you hydrated and usually ensure you’re eating whole, unprocessed foods.
• Liquorices- proven to help improve your immune system and fight fatigue.
Additional fun energy boosters:
• Laugh to create inner positivity.
• Smile to project positivity into the world.
• Try something different- whether it be a new food, art class, workout class or foreign language
• Change with the Seasons- spring clean your closets or deck the halls for the holidays. A change in your environment changes your energy flow.
• Volunteer- you’ll be amazed how self-fulfilling selfless acts of kindness can be.
The connection between what we eat, how we deal with stress, physical activity, hydration, adequate sleep and finding personal purpose can result in the spike or decline of energy levels.
5 energetic exercises to elevate the glutes
Squats- great functional exercise to build strength in hips.
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, for added intensity, hold weights at shoulder level or at your sides.
2. Bend the knees, and lower into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes. Keep your torso upright and contracted.
3. Press into the heels to stand up.
4. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 8-16 reps.
Lunges- great for working many muscles at the same time. On the front leg, you’ll work the gluteus and hamstrings and on the back leg, you work the quads and calves. To increase intensity, you can elevate the back foot on a step or platform to really challenge both legs. Variety of lunges include: static lunges, side to side lunges, sliding lunges, around the clock lunges, low lunges, one-legged lunge and step-by-step lunges.
Step-Ups- Place one foot on a step or platform and push through the heel to lift the body up. You eventually want a height where your knee is at a 90 degree angle. The other key is to concentrate all your weight on the stepping leg. Lower down gently, barely touching the toes of the other leg to the ground. Take it slow and concentrate on the working leg. Variations of step-ups include side step-ups, cross-over step ups and resistance step-ups.
Hip Extensions- specifically targets the largest muscle in the body- the gluteus maximus. Hold a dumbbell behind the knee or use ankle weights for added intensity.
One-legged dead lifts- great for hamstrings, butt and lower back. Using only one leg at a time is a great way to add intensity and engage your core muscles to keep your body balanced. This exercise is not recommended if you have back problems. Take the left leg back just a bit, lightly resting on the toe. With weights in front of the thighs, hinge from the hips and lower the weights as low as your flexibility allows. Keep your back flat or with a natural arch. Make sure your abs are contracted to protect the back. Squeeze the glutes of the working leg to raise back up. Do 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
Submitted by Kim Truman, Fitness and Lifestyle Expert/ Personal Trainer
March 31, 2011