Summer can be a busy time of year. Daylight hours are long, commitments are many and the heat can be oppressive. So what happens when your energy is sagging and your get up and go has got up and gone?
As we hover around the longest day of the year, it seems the list of things we have to do gets longer too. There’s the ever-growing garden to weed, BBQs and picnics to organise, work do’s and end of school events to attend, plus the usual daily grind. And then you’re supposed to find time to cram in your workout as well! It’s not surprising many of us feel like collapsing on the sofa and watching Wimbledon rather than getting active ourselves.
But you have more control over your energy than you think. So rather than giving up all hope to the remote control, follow these guidelines to get some energy back into your body. Soon you will be facing those summer activities with a lively spring in your step.
1.Eat energy-boosting fruit and veg. You don’t need a degree in science to know what food is healthy, but it helps to get some reminders. Summer is the perfect time to increase our intake of colourful fruits, veg and salads such red peppers, tomatoes, radish, blueberries, cantaloupe, watercress and strawberries. Most fruit and vegetables are rich in water which is crucial for lifting our energy and give us mental clarity to make it from task to task.
Low iron levels can cause fatigue so ensure you eat plenty of iron-rich food such as broccoli, spinach, kale and collard greens. Foods high in vitamin C will also aid iron absorption which helps to carry energy-boosting oxygen around the body.
2.Avoid refined carbs and sugars. When it comes to carbs choose slow-release options such as brown rice, oats and wholemeal bread and limit your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates. This will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and avoid those energy-dips. Instead, choose nutrient-dense snacks such as walnuts and dried raisins and you will give your body and brain a steady nutrient supply to drawn from through the day.
3.Stay positive. Nothing saps our energy quicker than a bad mood. If your thoughts are tight and constrictive, you are using up your precious energy in negativity. Instead, aim to free up your energy by choosing positive thoughts which will directly boost your feelings of lightness and vigour. If you find it difficult to find positive thoughts, concentrate on feeling gratitude for what you have already, or practice some yoga. This helps relax your mind. Refuse to be a victim to circumstances. Remember, we can always choose to maintain a positive attitude whatever life throws at us.
4.Avoid energy-depleting people. Some relationships are very negative and can deplete our energy rapidly. Surrounding yourself with positive people will energize you just by being near them, and you can then give the same positive vibes back to them.
5.Exercise most days. It may be the last thing you feel like doing but moving our bodies is one the most important ways to raise energy. By stimulating your heart and boosting blood oxygen exercise directly increases your energy levels. It doesn’t have to be a proper workout – any aerobic activity which raises your heart rate will work. Try to exercise at least 3-4 times each week for 30 – 40 minutes and make it something you enjoy so you stick to it. A run or cycle outside on a sunny day can make you feel fantastic. Plus exercise also helps to burn body fat which is another energy sapper.
6.Drink lots of water. Your body is about 60% water and even minimal dehydration can deplete your energy. Particularly on hot days, drinking small amounts regularly throughout the day is the best antidote. Keep a water bottle near you at all times and refill it often. If you get fed up with water you could try the caffeine-free options such as redbush or fennel tea? Also, smoothies are great in the summer and you may find some good deals on fruits and vegetables at markets.
7.Get enough rest. It appears obvious that getting enough sleep is important for daily energy, but many people still cut back on snoozing hours and wonder why they feel rubbish. Eight hours is still the recommended amount for most adults. Some adults get away with less, some need more. But too much sleep can make you sluggish and too little will lower your brain-cell functioning which is required for physical and mental tasks. Not getting enough sleep also lowers your auto-immune system leaving you more vulnerable to illness, which is a definite energy-sapper.
With enough energy we can throw ourselves wholeheartedly into the long summer days. So be proactive in your choices and you will be rewarded with enough get-up-and-go to really make the most of the next few months.
by Jessica Ward
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