Holiday Treats Versus Time to Exercise Them Away

How many calories for your holiday treats?  How much exercise to burn them off?

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Provided by Kendall Taylor of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in their October 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Not Exercising? That’s as Bad as Smoking…

When you see someone smoking, you might question “Why would you do that to yourself when you know it could kill you?” Do you react the same way when you know someone doesn’t exercise? You should.

When I was at a recent medical conference, one of the presenters reminded the audience that research has shown physical inactivity to be as deadly as smoking. I was shocked at this when I first heard it a couple of years ago, but I think I was just as shocked hearing it the second time. My guess is you are too. It’s hard to imagine being inactive could be comparable to smoking, but it is.

You wouldn’t dream of smoking (and if you do smoke, you’re likely trying to quit), so why poison yourself with inactivity? But many of us do. Nearly 80% of us don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. Many experts agree the inactivity epidemic is more concerning than the obesity epidemic.

The benefits of exercise are numerous and irrefutable. It helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, dementia, depression, and more. If you exercise, chances are you’ll live a longer, healthier life. Period.

What’s so powerful about exercise? Take heart disease, for example. Heart disease is associated with inflammation in the body. Exercise is a natural inflammation fighter. When you move, your muscles send out anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Also, every time you get up and move, your blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides improve. When you sit down, they get worse. It’s just about moving more.

If you’re not active now, I’m sure it sounds overwhelming to start an exercise program. The good news is you can see health benefits with even a small amount of activity. Even taking a daily 5 minute walk around the office will improve your health. Slowly build up from there.

Ultimately, you want your goal to be 30 minutes at least 5 days a week of moderate exercise. We’re talking about a brisk walk– hard enough that you can talk comfortably but not able to sing. But take your time getting there. Throw in resistance exercises a couple of days a week, and you’re on track. If you’ve tried exercise before and didn’t lose weight, don’t be discouraged. You are still getting health benefits even if you’re not shedding weight. If you’re overweight but active and fit, you can expect to live as long and healthy as someone who is normal weight and fit. Even if you’re obese, being active helps you live a longer, healthier life than a normal weight person who isn’t active.

Think you’re too old for it to matter? Hardly. Regardless of your age, getting active has enormous benefits even in your 80s and beyond. We’re not just talking about living longer, but living better with a higher quality of life. As British-American anthropologist Ashley Montagu once said, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.”

Source: WebMD 2014 by Michael Smith, MD, CPT

Provided by Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the February 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Not Exercising? That’s as Bad as Smoking…

Not Exercising? That’s as Bad as Smoking…

When you see someone smoking, you might question “Why would you do that to yourself when you know it could kill you?” Do you react the same way when you know someone doesn’t exercise? You should.

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When I was at a recent medical conference, one of the presenters reminded the audience that research has shown physical inactivity to be as deadly as smoking. I was shocked at this when I first heard it a couple of years ago, but I think I was just as shocked hearing it the second time. My guess is you are too. It’s hard to imagine being inactive could be comparable to smoking, but it is. You wouldn’t dream of smoking (and if you do smoke, you’re likely trying to quit), so why poison yourself with inactivity? But many of us do.

Nearly 80% of us don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. Many experts agree the inactivity epidemic is more concerning than the obesity epidemic. The benefits of exercise are numerous and irrefutable. It helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, dementia, depression, and more. If you exercise, chances are you’ll live a longer, healthier life. Period.

Exercise

 

What’s so powerful about exercise?

Take heart disease, for example. Heart disease is associated with inflammation in the body. Exercise is a natural inflammation fighter. When you move, your muscles send out anti-inflammatory chemicals. Also, every time you get up and move, your blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides improve. When you sit down, they get worse. It’s just about moving more. If you’re not active now, I’m sure it sounds overwhelming to start an exercise program.

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The good news is you can see health benefits with even a small amount of activity. Even taking a daily 5 minute walk around the office will improve your health. Slowly build up from there. Ultimately, you want your goal to be 30 minutes at least 5 days a week of moderate exercise. We’re talking about a brisk walk– hard enough that you can talk comfortably but not able to sing. But take your time getting there. Throw in resistance exercises a couple of days a week, and you’re on track.

If you’ve tried exercise before and didn’t lose weight, don’t be discouraged. You are still getting health benefits even if you’re not shedding weight. If you’re overweight but active and fit, you can expect to live as long and healthy as someone who is normal weight and fit. Even if you’re obese, being active helps you live a longer, healthier life than a normal weight person who isn’t active.

Think you’re too old for it to matter? Hardly. Regardless of your age, getting active has enormous benefits even in your 80s and beyond. We’re not just talking about living longer, but living better with a higher quality of life. As British-American anthropologist Ashley Montagu once said, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.”

old-people-exercise-2

 

Source: WebMD 2014 by Michael Smith, MD, CPT

Provided by Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the January 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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24 Daily Habits

 

24 Daily Habits

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us” – John Dryden

I have previously written about how the habit of exercising every day has helped me tremendously. Doing something every day is such a powerful way to form a habit that I thought I would make a list of 24 habits that are worth doing on a daily basis. Note: I have divided these into morning, day and night although some could obviously be under different headings.

The Morning

1. Wake Early: I am a big fan of waking at 5am and spending time working on myself before going to work. I have written more about this habit here: How to Wake Early When All You Want to Do Is Sleep.

2. Exercise: when I had the goal of exercising 4 times a week I found it was very easy to tell myself I will exercise tomorrow instead. Setting the expectation of daily exercise removed this as a potential excuse and I have since reaped the benefits of this daily habit.

3. Review or (even better) Rewrite Your Goals: each day I try to get closer to achieving my short, medium and long term goals. Starting the day by reviewing or rewriting my goals means that I have better awareness of them throughout the day. As Robin Sharma says:

“With better awareness you can make better choices and when you make better choices, you will see better results.”

4. Read and/ or Listen to Motivational Material: in the morning a whole day of endless possibilities lies ahead. I motivate myself to play my best game by reading and listening to inspirational books/ audiobooks. For audiobooks I recommend the free introductory offer from Audible.

5. Visualize the Day Ahead: I like to take a few minutes to shut my eyes and visualize what I want happen in the coming day. It’s amazing how often my desires become reality when I do this.

6. Write a “To Do” List: I like to write out a list in my diary of the important tasks I need to do that day. As they are completed I put a line through them. So simple, yet so effective.

7. Check the News Headlines: I think it’s important to have an idea of what is happening in our community and the world. Also if don’t at least check the main stories, I find it is easy to feel left out of conversations throughout the day. Having said this, much of the news is negative and I’m careful not to spend too much time digesting it unless there is a particular story of note.

8.  Blog: I find there are many benefits to blogging. Starting a blog can help you gain clarity, be creative, make new friends, and may even generate you some income. If you would like to start a blog I recommend Squarespace.

9. Take Time to Look Good: it’s a reality of life that people judge us by our appearance. I take a few minutes each morning to ensure I go out into the world looking the best I can.

The Day

10. Smile. You’ve probably heard about the importance of smiling, but as the saying goes “common sense is often quite uncommon.” I try to carry a smile with me on throughout the day. I find that not only does it make me happier, but it can make other people smile and open the door to conversations with people I haven’t talked to before.

11. Put First Things First: I try to avoid having my day controlled by tasks that are urgent , but not necessarily important. The habit of putting first things first is about organizing and executing your life around your deepest priorities.

12. Under-Promise and Over-Deliver: at work I try to go the extra mile on my projects, especially on the details many people might miss.  I set reasonable deadlines for myself and, when possible, try to get them done early.

13. Be Proactive: being proactive means showing initiative and taking the responsibility to make things happen. Whenever I want to get something done, I ask myself: “what can I do to make this happen?”

14. Snack Well: I substitute the chips, candy and chocolate with fruit, vegetables (carrots and celery are great to chomp on) and nuts.

15. Connect with Nature: I find spending time outdoors in nature is great for my sense of well-being. On work days I like to go for a walk during my lunch break.

16. Ping a Friend: I try to send a quick email or text to a friend each day. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends when I am extremely busy.

17. Save: I save at least 10% of each paycheck. A great way to find the money to save is to break it down to a daily amount, for example $10-15. By taking account of the Latte Factor I find it easy to save this much.

The Evening

18. Have Family Time: I believe it’s important to be present most evenings. Family time is aboutquantity and quality.

19. Take Time for Myself: I also believe it’s important to spend a little time each day just for me. Some things I like to do: read, write, meditate, yoga, play music and/ or visit the gym.

20. Tidy Up: a cluttered house can lead to a cluttered mind and fuzzy thinking. I find it’s best to stay on top of things by tidying up each day.

21. Wind Down: I try to switch off the computer and the TV about 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime and let my brain have some down time after a long day. I sleep far more peacefully when I do this.

22.  Review My Day: I find this is a great way to hold myself to account for taking action throughout the day. Did I get closer to achieving my goals? Did I complete my to do list? Did my day go as planned? If not, why not?

23. Say I Love You: don’t just assume that your family members know you love them. I say these words to my wife and sons at least once per day.

24. Go to Bed At A Reasonable Time: the first habit of this list (waking early) begins by going to bed at a reasonable time and getting a good nights sleep.

Photo by lululemon athletica

Improved Mental Health Linked to Nature Group Walks

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Walking through nature in a group sounds like a lovely way to spend an afternoon, but can it lower depression? According to a new study from the University of Michigan, the answer is yes, suggesting potential health benefits of national outdoor group walk programs. Although it is well known that outdoor walking groups encourage interaction with nature, social engagement and physical activity, until now, little has been known about how effective they are at promoting mental, emotional and social well-being.

A recent study published in April suggested that walking boosts creative thinking, while another from July suggested brisk walking is  therapeutic for people with Parkinson’s disease. Though the health benefits of going for a good walk are wide ranging, researchers
from this latest study focused on the mental benefits of the activity. Their results are published in the journal Ecopsychology.

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To conduct their study, the team, led by Dr. Sara Warber, associated professor of family medicine, evaluated nearly 2,000 participants
from the Walking for Health Program in the UK, which organizes almost 3,000 weekly walks each year. “We hear people say they feel better
after a walk or going outside, but there haven’t been many studies of this large size to support the conclusion that these behaviors actually improve your mental health and well-being,” says Dr. Warber.

Results from their study show that group nature walks are linked with “significantly” lower depression, less stress and better mental health and well-being, both before and after controlling for covariates.  Additionally, people from the study who had recently encountered
stressful life events—such as a serious illness, death of a loved one, marital separation or unemployment—experienced a mood boost
after outdoor group walks.

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Commenting on their findings, Dr. Warber says, “Walking is an inexpensive, low risk and accessible form of exercise, and it turns out that combined with nature and group settings, it may be a very powerful, under-utilized stress buster. Our findings suggest that something as simple as joining an outdoor walking group may not only improve someone’s daily positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression.”

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The team cites an increase in mental health issues and physical inactivity in the developed world for why they seek to explore new ways
to help improve quality of life and well-being. “The present study identifies the mental and emotional well-being benefits from participation
in group walks in nature and offers useful information about the potential health contribution of national outdoor group walk programs,” the researchers conclude.

Source: WebMD, Inc.

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Provided by Rebecca McGonigle of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the November 2014 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Silent Killers of Your Metabolism

Silent Killers of Your Metabolism

March 27, 2014 | By

Your metabolism is responsible for turning calories into energy. A slow metabolism can lead to a build-up of calories, stored as fat for later use. Ultimately, this leads to unwanted weight gain and, if unchecked, obesity. In the following infographic, Rockwell Nutrition highlights a number of factors that are wreaking havoc on your metabolism.

– See more at: http://infographicjournal.com/silent-killers-of-your-metabolism/#sthash.rBhHvbLt.dpuf

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Stressed By Work-Life Balance? Just Exercise

 Stressed By Work-Life Balance? Just Exercise

Feeling conflicted by the push-pull of work and family life? New research suggests that regular exercise can help balance out those feelings. Researchers examined the responses of 476 working adults who were surveyed about their exercise behavior and their confidence in handling work-family conflicts. Those who exercised regularly seemed to experience an increased feeling of competence that carried over into work and home roles, the study authors said.

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“If, for example, you go for a two-mile jog or walk 10 flights of steps at work and feel good about yourself for doing that, it will translate and carry over into other areas of life,” said study author Russell Clayton, an assistant professor of management at Saint Leo University in Florida. “We found that [participants] who exercised felt good about themselves, that they felt that they could accomplish tough tasks, and that carried over into work and family life,” Clayton added.

Volumes of research have shown that exercise lowers mental and physical stress levels, but few studies have focused on whether this stress reduction helps empower individuals to better manage their work-life balance. Clayton said the study originated as a “pet project” after he realized his own adherence to exercise gave him perspective on integrating work and life. Also involved in the study were researchers from Saint Louis University, University of Houston-Victoria and Illinois State University.

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Clayton acknowledged that the research method the study authors used—having respondents answer questions and then tallying the answers through a mathematical technique—did not offer hard numbers for the results. Just over half (55%) of the study participants were women. In addition, the study noted, participants worked an average of 40 hours weekly and their average age was 41. About 29% had at least one child under age 18 living at home. While the study found a link between physical activity and reports of greater empowerment at home and at work, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. “But the associations between exercise and work-life balance are there, and they’re very strong,” Clayton said.

For those who don’t exercise regularly, the idea of adding that regimen to a busy schedule to improve stress levels may seem counterintuitive, Clayton noted. But he advocates the idea of “stolen moments” for exercise that add up, such as climbing the stairs for five minutes or doing jumping jacks in 30-second spurts. “We hope our research can be a grain of sand in the beach of evidence we have to push corporations…to encourage employees to exercise,” he added.

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Dr. Natalie Digate Muth, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise, said the study extends the evidence that physical activity offers benefits beyond the obvious. “People should think of it as a kind of investment. If you put some time into physical activity,” said Muth, “you may be active for 30 minutes a day, but the productivity and mental focus you’re going to get out of it is going to far exceed what you put into it, from a work and family perspective.”

Source: WebMD, Inc.

Provided by Rebecca McGonigle from the June 2014 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter from Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT)

55 Ways to Get More Energy

55 Ways to Get More Energy

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Greg Go, co-author of Wise Bread‘s new book, 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.  Buy the book today (by Monday 11:59pm PDT) and get a $15 Ebates bonus and a chance to win a brand new Flip Cam.

If you’re tired all the time, a change in what you eat (diet) or what you do all day (activity pattern) may be all you need to turn things around 180°.

You won’t be able to do everything on this list all the time — you’d tire yourself out trying to get more energy — but do try them all to see which ones work for you and your schedule. Add a few of these tips to your regular routine.  Or mix them up to keep things interesting.

1. Change your socks for refreshment.

It’s an amazing trick.  Bring a change of socks to work, and change your socks midway through the day (say, after lunch).  You’ll be amazed at how much fresher you’ll feel.   This trick is especially handy on days with lots of walking — like during a hike or family outing to the amusement park.

2. Rock out loud.

Whether you work alone or in a room with coworkers, a quick one-song rock out loud session is an effective way to beat back exhaustion.

In a cube farm? Get everyone to sing along! The key is to choose a song that everyone can sing along with. (I like Kokomo.) The energy boosting effect comes from bobbing your head and singing out loud. One song, 3 minutes.  That’s a quick boost of adrenaline that lasts for a bit.  You’ll be singing to yourself the rest of the never ending project delivery night.

3. Get rid of the stuffy nose.

If allergies have your sinuses blocked, you may be feeling more tired and cranky.  An over-the-counter allergy medication should clear up your sinuses (and your mind).

4. Work with your body’s clock.

There is a natural ebb and flow of energy throughout the day.   We start off sluggish after waking up, even after a solid 8 hours of sleep.  Our energy peaks mid-morning, and it’s natural to want a siesta in the afternoon. We get a second spike of energy in the early evening, followed by our lowest energy point just before bedtime.  Once you understand this natural rhythm of energy throughout the day, you can work on the important tasks during your peak hours and avoid early afternoon snoozefests (meetings).

5. Have a piece of chocolate.

Not too much, but if you’re going to have some candy, it might as well be chocolate.  We get an endorphin buzz from chocolate (not to mention the energy boost from the slight bit of caffeine chocolate contains).  Dark chocolate has more caffeine than milk chocolate.

An afternoon snack of yogurt, berries, and nuts will provide the boost of energy to carry you through the day.  Photo by lepiaf.geo / Flickr)An afternoon snack of yogurt, berries, and nuts will provide the boost of energy to carry you through the day. Photo by lepiaf.geo / Flickr

6. Have an afternoon power snack.

A small healthy snack that is low in sugar and has protein and/or fiber a couple hours after lunch helps you finish off the day strong.  Some suggestions:

  • mixed nuts
  • nonfat yogurt
  • apple and peanut butter
  • frozen berrie smoothie
  • trail mix
  • granola bar

7. Hit up the water cooler for inconsequential banter.

A little midday gossip and random banter is a great pick-me-up for your tired mind. It works because it gets your mind on zero-stress thoughts for a while.  The mental break for just a few minutes will revitalize you.

8. Eat lots of berries.

Especially berries that are blue, red, or purple.  The color comes from anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant, that boosts energy.  Any kind of berry will contain tons.

All types of berries help fight fatigue and are delicious to boot! Photo by Zabowski / FlickrAll types of berries help fight fatigue and are delicious to boot! Photo by Zabowski / Flickr

9. Wear brighter colors.

This trick is related to the mood you project to people, and the reciprocating mood they project towards you.  If you wear dark, somber colors, you project a dark, somber attitude, and people will respond to you with a somber attitude. If you wear bright, happy colors, you’ll get that attitude projected towards you, which will boost your own mood and energy levels.

10. Take a power nap.

But do it in your chair.  Don’t lie down on the sofa or you won’t get back up.  Keep it short: 5-10 minutes max.  Any longer and it will have the opposite effect of knocking you out for the rest of the day.

11. Flirt.

It’s fun, it’s harmless (keep it innocent), and it’s effective.  Nothing quite gets the heart pumping like a little flirting.

Amore gets the blood flowing.Amore gets the blood flowing. Flirt for more energy. Photo by Kjunstorm / Flickr

12. Aromatherapy with lavender.

Research has shown that the lavender scent increases alertness. Test subjects were given math tests before and after 3 minutes of lavender aromatherapy.  The group completed the tests faster and more accurately after aromatherapy.

13. Wake up at the same time everyday.

Including weekends.  This sets your body clock.  Otherwise, you’ll be wide awake when you should be asleep.  Or worse, asleep when you should be awake (dozing off in a meeting is embarrassing).  The key is to go to bed at the same time every night. If you need to reset your sleep cycle in one day, stop eating for the 16 hours before the time you want to wake up.

14. Drink lots of water.

Dehydration is a sinister cause of fatigue because it slowly creeps up on you.  If you consistently drink less than 8 cups of water a day, you may be sluggish all the time. Get a 32 oz (1 quart, 4 cups) water bottle. Your goal is to polish off 2 of those a day.  Try it for a week and see if your general energy level increases.

15. Use caffeine wisely.

Coffee and caffeinated sodas can boost your alertness, but be careful about letting it be a habitual crutch.  The temptation to drink more caffeine to get even more energy will be strong.  Eventually you’ll be downing 5 double-shot espressos a day just to function.  Drink coffee earlier in the day to avoid insomnia, which will make the next day worse.

Coffee in moderation. Caffeine can give you a quick boost of energy, but can also be a counterproductive crutch.Use caffeine in moderation. Coffee provides a shot of energy, but can also become a counterproductive dependence. Photo by visualpanic / Flickr

16. Avoid energy drinks.

Energy drinks provide a near-instant hyperactivity boost, but they always result in a crash.  Energy drinks are like energy credit cards — you’re spending future energy to get short-term energy. The resulting energy deficit gets worse until you hit energy bankruptcy.

17. Eat low glycemic (low or complex carb) foods.

Trade in good, complex carbohydrates (low glycemic index) for the bad, simple carbs (sugar). Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index means the sugar is more easily digested by your body.  That results in a spike in energy followed by a low-sugar crash.

High glycemic index foods to avoid include white bread, potato, and high sugar foods (like sodas).  Low glycemic foods (the good carb foods) include fruits and vegetables, grains (eg., whole wheat bread), low-carb foods (eg., meats), and pasta.  Check this chart of foods and their glycemic index before your next trip to the grocery store.

18. Eat more soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is the kind that slows down the rate of absorption of sugars. It evens out your energy levels by preventing a sugar high and crash.  (By the way, insoluble fiber  is the kind that prevents constipation.)  Don’t worry too much about which kind of fiber you’re getting — they’re both good for you.  Rotate more high soluble fiber foods like nuts, grains, fruits, plant matter (vegetables), beans, and oats into your diet.

Eat and sniff more citrus fruits for an energy boost.  Photo by Steven Fernandez / FlickrEat and sniff more citrus fruits for an energy boost.  Photo by Steven Fernandez / Flickr

19. Get your Vitamin C.

Get a daily dose of citrus fruits (eg., orange juice in the morning) or a vitamin C tablet.  Study after study shows the correlation between citric acid deficiency and chronic fatigue. Vitamin C also helps you absorb more nutrients from food.

20. Sniff some citrus.

In addition to the Vitamin C, citrus scents (like orange, lemon and lime) stimulate alertness.  So lather on some of that lemon scented lotion.

21. Cover the B Vitamins.

B vitamins cover a range of bodily functions, but most B vitamins are involved in the process of converting blood sugar into usable energy.   To ensure you get the proper amount of B vitamins, eat a balanced diet.

22. Quit smoking.

Ex-smokers frequently report an energy boost of 2-3x when they quit smoking.  Nicotine affects your sleep, so you don’t get as good a night’s sleep. That makes you cranky, frustrated and tired the next day.  Which leads to more smoking.  It’s a vicious energy sapping cycle.

23. Play to relax.

Playing a game keeps your mind working (versus, say, watching TV), but doesn’t have any of the energy-sapping stresses of work.  Go ahead and play that quick game of Scrabble on Facebook, but have a strict time limit if you don’t want your boss to say something.

Play a quick game to relax while keeping your mind active. Youll destress but still be ready to take on the next task.Play a game to relax.  It keeps your mind active without the debilitating stress. Photo by Sukanto Debnath / Flickr

24. Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

Snack throughout the day. By eating smaller but more frequent “meals”, you will maintain a steady dose of energy instead of experiencing food comas.  Don’t snack on fatty and sugar laden junk food though.  You may get a short 30 minute burst of hyperalertness, but it’ll be quickly followed by a debilitating crash.

25. Enjoy a cup of tea.

In a recent study, University College London researchers noted that drinking a cup of tea 4-6 time a day reduces stress hormone levels in your body.  The study’s results suggest “drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life.”

26. Splash some water on your face.

Just letting the cool water hit your face washes off the grime and stresses of the day.  You could also jump in the pool or take a shower for the same effect.  Showers stimulates the circulatory system and metabolism.  Get wet to feel more energetic.

Get wet to freshen up and get a shot of energy. Photo by Liz Noise / FlickrGet wet to freshen up and get a shot of energy. Photo by Liz Noise / Flickr

27. Stand up, stretch and take a couple of deep breaths.

Stretch your arms, back, legs, and neck.  Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it, and let it out slowly and forcefully.  Repeat several times.  This will take 30 seconds and will be an instant fix.  When you sit back down, you’ll have the clear head and fresh feeling needed to power through the tough/boring task in front of you.

28. Get your world organized.

When your world is organized, you don’t have to expend mental energy keeping track of a million things.  Here’s how to take back control of your time and productivity:

Zen desk = less stress = more energy. Photo by Laure Wayaffe / Flickr

Zen desk = less stress = more energy. Photo by Laure Wayaffe / Flickr

29. Look on the bright side.

A generally upbeat and optimistic outlook on life will keep your energy level up.  Yes, the worst thing that can happen might actually happen, but giving it too much worry will only drain you.  Look for the positive in every situation and you won’t be so tired.

30. Take a mini-vacation.

Take one day and just do whatever you want.  No work, no chores, no errands.  Enjoy your one full day of vacation, then come back to work more motivated and energetic.

31. Eat a satisfying breakfast but a light lunch.

A heavy lunch, especially one with lots of carbs or fat (like a burger combo) will hit you as soon as you get back to the office.  And it’ll be a sluggishness that lasts to the end of the day.  Eat a big breakfast instead.  It provides the fuel you need for the day, at the time when your body needs it the most.  Not only will you avoid the afternoon food coma, the big breakfast will make you more productive in the mornings.  Double win.

Beautiful Breakfast on a Sunday Morning in Shanghai (Charles Chan / Flickr)Start your day with a powerful breakfast that provides the fuel you need for the day. Photo by Charles Chan / Flickr

32. Choose protein over fat or carbs.

Foods with lean (low fat) protein help you feel fuller for longer.  It also prevents blood sugar spikes, giving you more steady energy.  Lean protein foods include fish and other seafood, lean pork, or chicken breasts (“white meat”).

33. Shed a few pounds.

The things you do to lose weight — exercise, drink water, avoid simple sugars — are actions that also have a positive effect on your energy level.  Even better, the actual loss of excess fat provides an energy boost of its own.  You’ll feel “lighter” and things that use to make you breathless will now seem much easier. Losing weight provides a double-impact to boosting your energy.

But be careful with fad and/or crash diets.   Cutting out too many calories (ie., energy your body needs) too fast will cause you to be even more tired. Take small steps, and make it a lifestyle change so you shed the fat for life.

34. Listen to tunes while you work.

It’s well known that our brain’s pleasure centers light up when we hear music. Throwing on the headphones and listening to any music you like while working will give you a productivity boost.

35. Start exercising.

If you have a fairly sedentary life, just the idea of starting an intense exercise program is exhausting.  But if you go slow, literally taking one step at a time, you can go from being sedentary to becoming a runner just like Leo.

Get moving! Getting some exercise will lift your energy levels all day. Photo by Hamed Saber / FlickrGet moving! Getting some exercise will lift your energy levels all day. Photo by Hamed Saber / Flickr

36. Eliminate stress.

Stress is draining.  Sometimes it’s worth it, like when you’re on a deadline to delivery a big project.  Sometimes it’s just a waste of energy.  Leo says,

Certain things in our life just cause us to be more exhausted than others, with less value. Identify them, and cut them out. You’ll have much more energy and much less stress. Happiness ensues.

Here’s how to eliminate stress from your life.

37. Have more sex.

Talk about an endorphin rush! If you keep those endorphins flowing regularly, you’ll have more natural energy.  Literally, more bounce to your step.

38. Move gym time to the morning.

A lot of people go to the gym after work.  Try going to the gym in the morning instead to get energy that lasts all day.  Sure, you’ll have to wake up an hour or two earlier, but you get that time back at night.  That exercise in the morning gets the endorphins flowing, which keeps you happy and productive the rest of the day.  By exercising in the morning instead of at night, you spend the same amount of time at the gym, but get the added benefit of having more energy at work.

39. Purge low-value tasks from your todo list.

If you have a ridiculously long todo list that is impossible to get all the way through, you’ll feel tired just thinking about the todo list.  If you want to actually cross off tasks from your todo list, you’ll need to throw out the crap tasks that you don’t want/need to deal with. Either delegate those tasks, move them into a second “nice but not critical” list, or just admit that they’re probably never going to get done and move them to the “maybe/someday” list.  Shortening your todo list to just the most critical, must-do tasks will give you the “energy” to start knocking out those tasks.

40. Avoid the mid-day cocktail.

If you want to function in the afternoon, avoid alcohol at lunch.  Even if it’s just one beer.  Alcohol’s sedative effects will take hours to recover from, killing the rest of your afternoon.

Skip the alcohol at lunch if you want to make it to 5:00. Photo by ktylerconk / FlickrSkip the alcohol at lunch if you want to make it to 5:00. Photo by ktylerconk / Flickr

41. Get a massage.

Loosen up those tight muscles and you’ll feel more relaxed.  A more relaxed you means a happier and more productive you.  Trade a quick shoulder rub with a coworker after lunch to perk both of you up for the rest of the afternoon.

42. Dress up.

Feeling better about yourself has a magical way of giving you more energy. Put just a tad more effort into looking your best for work, and you’ll get compliments from coworkers that will make you feel better — and make you a perkier, more energetic worker bee.

43. Don’t drink yourself to sleep.

Alcohol keeps your body from entering deep sleep, so even if you get the same hours of sleep, you won’t feel as rested.  Limit alcohol the hours before bedtime to get the best night’s sleep.

44. Get a thyroid test from your doctor.

If you are chronically fatigued, it may be a symptom of hypothyroidism. That’s when not enough thyroid hormone is produced, with fatigue as one of its symptoms.  Visit the doctor if you’ve been tired for a long time and haven’t had a checkup in a while.

45. Take a walk outside.

Getting outside for some fresh air, a change of scenery, and a quick walk to get your blood going will do wonders for your mood and motivation.  Seeing the sun is a signal to your body that it’s not bedtime yet.

Photo by vshioshvili / FlickrTake a walk outside to clear your head.  Photo by vshioshvili / Flickr

46. Lower your blood pressure.

Besides being a risk factor for a heart attack, high blood pressure makes you fatigued.  If you haven’t seen your doctor lately, go in and get your blood pressure checked.

47. Rotate yogurt into your diet.

Yogurt with live cultures keep your digestive system clean, which helps your body absorb all the nutrients from food.  That makes you healthier and more energetic.  Yogurt is also a good low-fat snack.

48. Have a laugh.

Laughter is great medicine for exhaustion.  Make sure you laugh regularly to keep your mood up.  Seek out funny people or subscribe to a daily email joke. I like the geeky comic xkcd for a quick smile.  What’s your favorite quick funny pick-me-up?

49. Add more cardio to your gym time.

The aerobic exercise gets your blood pumping.  It builds stamina and endurance, which is useful for both triathalons and neverending department meetings.

50. Take up yoga.

The stretching, slow controlled movements, and focus on breathing reduces tension (and stress).  The benefits include better sleep, feeling more relaxed, and being mentally sharper.

51. Eat eggs.

When people have eggs (mostly protein) for breakfast, versus bagels (all carbs), they feel more energy and eat less at the next meal.  Protein makes you feel fuller without feeling stuffed, and they provide a steady stream of energy for your body (versus the quick high and crash of carbohydrates).  Eggs are a great for breakfast or as an addition to a lunch salad.

52. Get a good night’s sleep.

We need 7-8 hours of sleep to be fully rested.  Consistently sleeping less than 6 hours a night builds up a “sleep debt” that is hard to recover from.  If you’re getting enough sleep, it should take you up to 30 minutes to fall asleep.  If you’re falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow (or while sitting at your desk), that’s a symptom of sleep deprivation.

53. Get more ginseng.

Ginseng is well-known to have energy boosting properties.  It is an adaptogen, which means it build resistance to stress and boosts energy.  A ginseng supplement or sipping tea with ginseng can help improve energy.

54. Socialize.

Turn off the Internet and go socialize with friends.  Humans are social animals, and we need regular socializing to keep ourselves in peak health and energy.

Go out and play with your friends! Photo by Strocchi / FlickrGo out and play with your friends! Photo by Strocchi / Flickr

55. Get on your toes.

Roll up and down on your toes.  This stimulates your circulatory system, which will deliver much-needed oxygen and fuel (glucose) throughout your body.  You’ll be more energized and sharper.  You can do this right now.

What’s your secret for getting more energy? Share it in the comments!

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