As the days get longer and the weather warmer it’s time to recharge your health regime and boost your energy.
Editor Jane Garton shares her top ideas to take you into the new season full of energy.
Are you feeling tired all the time or fed up because your carefully made New Year resolutions are now a distant memory? Now that winter is on the way out it’s time to refresh, refocus and put some zest back into life so you’re ready to bounce into spring.
But how to rev yourself up? Following a healthy diet and taking regular exercise are obvious routes. But there are other ways to increase your get-up-and-go. Follow these five smart moves and watch your energy levels soar this spring.
A quick way to increase vitality is to start the day with a freshly made juice packed with the life force of plants. Think vitamins, minerals, enzymes and energising natural fruit sugars. Drink a glass half an hour before breakfast for a quick morning energy boost then a couple more during the day.
Juices can be drunk on their own, mixed with other juices or diluted with water. Blend them with soy milk or yogurt to make a delicious smoothie or perk them up by adding herbs and spices. Try adding coconut milk, shredded coconut, wheat germ, molasses or ground nuts and seeds. If you have a sensitive digestion try diluting one part of juice with four parts water.
Sort it out
Piles of letters, bills, a bulging in-box, cupboards and drawers overflowing with things – sounds familiar? Clutter creates stale energy so make those phone calls, reply to those letters and emails and bin any that have passed their keep-by date.
Next tackle those cupboards and drawers – do you need it, do you use it, do you wear it? If you answer no it’s time for a visit to the local charity shop.
It could take some time to get going, but once you are organised you will have more energy, more ‘me’ time, not to mention fewer anxious moments. The more ordered your environment the more focussed you will feel which will give you a lot more mental and physical energy to devote to other things.
Decluttering can be hard though and you should never underestimate the emotional impact of parting with things. The secret is to set yourself a goal and do it little by little. Setting aside 30 minutes a day and enlisting the help of a friend can make the job easier. It’s OK to acknowledge that emotion is part of a declutter as long as you rise above it and put it away, say the experts.
Think how energised you feel after a breath of fresh air, so try to get outdoors for at least half an hour a day. If you are at work find the nearest park or failing that just walk around the block to dust off the cobwebs. Natural light inhibits the body’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, so without it you will feel more energetic. For the ultimate pep-up, make a weekend visit to the seaside. Sea air is full of negative ions, which are well known for improving mood and health.
It’s free with zero calories but few of us drink enough water. Keep a jug on your desk at work, a bottle in your bag or a glass by your side all day long.
Whenever you feel hungry or get cravings, drink a large glass of water. Often when we think we are hungry we are actually thirsty and it is well recognised that being hydrated is a great energy reviver, as well as helping concentration and keeping your mind on the job in hand.
Drinking water before meals can also help you eat less, by swelling the food you eat and stimulating receptors in the brain to acknowledge that you have had enough.
A good herb to keep you energised and focussed is rhodiola. Used throughout Eastern Europe as a natural stimulant, it is thought to have anti-fatigue, anti-stress, antioxidant and immune-enhancing effects. Several studies have also shown it can help improve mental and physical performance especially under stress [i].
As with many herbs, no single compound seems to be responsible for these benefits. Research indicates that chemical ingredients within rhodiola known as rosavins are mainly responsible. It appears that these affect the function of neurotransmitters – the brain chemicals that transport messages between nerves and help to regulate mood and other brain functions.
Quick Fix Tips
- Swap your mug of breakfast tea for a peppermint tea to wake up your brain.
- Inhale for three seconds then exhale for three and repeat 10 times. This floods your cells with oxygen, which the body then converts into energy.
- Laugh. A good chuckle helps muscles to relax, reduces the stress hormone cortisol and releases energising endorphins, the body’s own feel-good hormones.
- Stretching for two to three minutes loosens muscles, eases joints and improves blood circulation, which increases energy levels.