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By Glenn Mueller


Monday, February 07, 2011.


Have you ever watched a group of children at play and wished you could find a way to bottle their energy?


Well, even though Ponce de Leon never discovered a fountain of youth, there are some simple things you can do to fight those feelings of fatigue.


Fitness expert Raphael Calzadilla offers eight effective ways to get yourself energised. Just follow his basic tips to finally break free from the shackles of exhaustion. Before you know it, you’ll feel like a kid again.


Control blood sugar levels. “Any time you consume a large meal, you raise your blood sugar levels,” Raphael says. According to Raphael, the key to keeping your blood sugar levels under control is to follow a healthy meal plan.


Whatever plan you choose, be sure to eat a balance of healthy foods and avoid skipping meals. Personally, Raphael recommends eating three small meals and two to three small snacks throughout the course of the day. That way, you will be eating something about every two to three hours, which will keep your blood sugar regulated.


And speaking of food, be particularly careful about the foods you snack on during the day. When you start to feel tired, your first instinct might be to grab a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate. Although these foods give you a quick energy fix, Raphael says they soon will leave you feeling more tired than you were before.


Limit your intake of processed snacks or eliminate them from your diet altogether. Instead of wasting your change on vending machine food, why not pack healthy snacks like apple slices or carrot sticks?




Exercise regularly:

Human beings weren’t born to be sedentary creatures, so get moving! Raphael suggests performing moderate and consistent levels of aerobic exercise at least three to four times a week for a minimum of 30-45 minutes each session. “Though too much exercise can wear you out, moderate and consistent exercise is a great way to increase your energy level,” Raphael says.


Be sure to consult your doctor before you begin any new exercise regime. If it has been a while since you last exercised, adding fitness to your routine may make you more tired at first.


However, if you keep at it, your body will adjust and start to feel more invigorated.


Breathe deeply:

 “When you are stressed out, your breathing will change immediately,” Raphael says. “Shallow breathing caused by stress limits the oxygen to the body.”


Raphael recommends using meditation tapes or CDs with breathing exercises. At the very least, he says people should stop and take five or 10 deep breaths when they are feeling sluggish.


Restful night’s sleep:

It may sound obvious, but try to get an adequate amount of sleep each night. If you find yourself frequently burning the midnight oil, it stands to reason that you may start feeling a little run down.


“Eight hours of sleep a night is ideal, but it is not always realistic,” Raphael says. Raphael does recommend getting as close to eight hours of sleep per night as you can. He also recommends that people try to go to bed by 11 pm. “If you go to bed late and wake up late, you are likely to feel sluggish the next day, since you have gotten away from the body’s natural rhythms.”


If you lack energy, try going to bed earlier at night. If you can wake up feeling well rested, it will be an indication that you are starting to get an appropriate amount of sleep at night. If you sleep more than eight hours every night but still feel sluggish, Raphael says you may actually be getting too much sleep.


Stay hydrated:

“Any type of mild dehydration will make you feel extremely tired,” Raphael says. He recommends drinking at least eight (200 ml) glasses of water every single day.


Eat breakfast:

Again, this may seem obvious, but Raphael says your mother was right when she told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.


“When you first wake up, your blood sugar is low,” Raphael says. “If you don’t eat a proper breakfast, you risk an energy drain.”


And no, a cup of coffee does not count as a proper breakfast. Though Raphael says moderate amounts of coffee can be beneficial to your health, it should never take the place of proper food.


Resistance training:

In addition to aerobic exercise, Raphael says it is also important to perform some form of resistance training on a regular basis. He recommends using free weights at least twice a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each session. “You will increase your energy levels if you build muscle and decrease fat,” Raphael says. “The muscle is much smaller in volume than the fat, so gaining just a little bit of muscle will make a big difference.


Stress management:

There’s no doubt about it: These are intense times we live in. Stress is one of the primary causes for exhaustion and fatigue. Though a certain amount of stress is inevitable, you can eliminate some of it with better organisation and planning.


Raphael says it is also important to spend at least 15 to 20 minutes every day doing something you enjoy. This could mean meditating or sitting and listening to your favourite music over a cup of tea.


“Personally, my favourite way to relieve stress is to work out,” Raphael says. “It relaxes me and gets me focused.”


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