If your energy level is stretched to the breaking point and you feel just plain tired, it might be time to make some simple changes. I know; when you’re dragging it’s probably hard to believe there might be easy solutions. But there are, and they involve just three simple concepts: eating right, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.
Contrary to what you might think, regular exercise doesn’t make you more tired; it actually keeps you energetic. That’s because it raises serotonin and beta-endorphin levels, which boost energy and give you a feeling of well-being. Just a little aerobic activity can do wonders: It can smooth out your emotions, improve the way you think, sooth your nerves and lower your blood pressure! You say you don’t have time to exercise? Maybe you just need to alter what you think of as exercise: Even taking the stairs, weeding the garden or parking your car further from the mall entrance and walking qualifies.
Eat, drink and be merry
When you’re active, eating five or six small meals every day is the best way to maintain your energy level. Foods high in fiber are particularly good because they digest slowly and give you long-lasting energy. On the other side of the coin, foods with a lot of fat or protein can make you sleepy.
While you’re eating those frequent fiber-filled meals, don’t forget to drink lots of water. Not only do high-fiber foods digest better when well-lubricated, but sometimes energy lags are the result of dehydration. Keeping a bottle of water handy and sipping it throughout the day can help ensure you don’t have a dip in energy because you’re not well-hydrated. Eating healthy snacks can help maintain your energy, too. Whole-grain pretzels and crackers, whole fruit, fruit juice, yogurt and cheese are all good choices. Ditch the candy bars, though. Sugary treats raise your blood glucose, which will give you a burst of energy followed by a sleep-inducing drop in blood sugar after about 20 minutes.
Speaking of sleep, it’s common for people to require about eight hours of it every day. But sleep needs actually can vary widely from person to person, with some getting by on four hours a night and others needing as many as 12. Whatever your requirement, don’t short yourself. Try to get about the same amount every night, and attempt to go to sleep and awaken at the same time every day. Because sleep restores you, getting enough on a consistent basis is critical.
So remember, if you’re dragging, make sure you’re eating well, and getting enough exercise and sleep. That formula might seem simple, but it’s actually a combo that can help you feel energetic for a lifetime.