Monday, December 1, 2008

Why some people never get tired, and how you can join their ranks

Why Some People Never Get Tired, and How You Can Join Their Ranks

You know the type. They always seem awake, alert, ready to achieve, even as your
energy level seems to have hit "Empty."

If energy seems hard to come by these days, you're not alone. Close to one-third
of respondents to the 2005 National Sleep Foundation poll said they have missed
work or other events, or made errors at work, because of being too sleepy.

So what is the secret that these "other" people, the ones with the seemingly
endless energy, know that you don't? It's not that their lives are necessarily
any easier, any less complicated or any less crammed with things to do. And
their days are not any less laced with the trials and tribulations of a normal

More so, it is that they have discovered the following secrets and incorporated
them into their own lives. But here's the real kicker: You can too.

You are What You Eat

It sounds clich�, but it's true. According to Cynthia Sass, R.D., a spokesperson
for the American Dietetic Association (ADA), there are six diet-related factors
that can drastically affect your energy levels throughout the day.

Drink more water. If you get dehydrated, it will make you feel sluggish.

Eat plenty of protein. Make sure you are eating enough healthy protein
throughout the day. Your body needs it to keep organs functioning and energy
levels up.

Watch your carb intake. Eating too many carbs can slow you down, but so can not
eating enough of the healthy kind (like those from veggies). Carbs are what
keeps your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day, which in turn makes
you feel awake, so be sure you're eating the right amount for you.

Limit your caffeine fix. If you can't get going without a cup of coffee, you're
probably drinking too much. It will actually end up making you feel more tired
in the long run, so limit your intake to about one cup a day.

Eat when you're hungry. If you keep pushing lunch back until you're about to
faint, your blood sugar levels will plummet--and so will your energy.

Eat a balanced diet. If you're not giving your body all the protein, carbs,
fats, vitamins, minerals and more that it needs, you won't feel up to par.

Too Tired to Exercise? There's no Such Thing!

Aside from illness, there's no excuse for not exercising. And if you feel you
don't have enough energy to do it, you're probably the type that needs it most!

"Your body is probably begging for activity," says Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D, a
professor of exercise physiology at the University of Virginia in

Though it sounds ironic, putting out the energy to work out will give you more
energy and make your daily tasks easier. Ask any regular exerciser to take a
break from their routine, and they're sure to notice a drop in their energy.
Here's how to exercise for the maximum boost:

Vary your workouts. Do an aerobic activity like jogging or kickboxing one day, a
strength training work out another, and yoga or Pilates the next. This will keep
you from getting burned out and keep things fun. "Whatever gets you to move is
the exercise that will energize you," says Gaesser.

Stretch. Stretching is a key way to increase your daily energy. Using the proper
form in stretching is essential to achieving the maximum energy benefits.

To learn 15 important stretches that stretch all the key muscles groups
throughout your entire body in only 15-20 minutes a day, highly
recommends the "Stretching Toward a Healthier Life" DVD.

Use intervals for cardio. While doing a cardio workout, alternate several
minutes of high-intensity movement with several minutes of lower intensity. This
will get your energy levels up without wearing you down.

Watch your intensity. If you're working so hard that you can't talk, you
probably need to tone it down a notch. Says Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., chief
exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego,
exercising too hard can leave you feeling tired, rather than energized.

Emotions Can Sap Your Energy

If you've got a lot of negative emotions cooped up in your mind, it will
definitely drain you of your energy. These could be things like:

Lingering resentments from an argument with your spouse or family
Frustration about a work project
Disappointment in yourself or others
Feeling not good enough
Anxiety about an upcoming event
Worrying about finances, illness or other issues

Most of these things are issues that lead you to have a lot of negative stress,
and no way to vent it. And let's face it, even the positive things in our lives
-- buying a new house, having a baby, getting married, planning for retirement
-- can lead to energy-zapping emotions. Here are some solutions to free your
mind and recapture your energy:

Try energy psychology tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique. Similar to
acupuncture but without the needles, tapping on specific energy meridians on
your body can help you let go of all kinds of negative emotions.

Take part in a pleasurable, constructive (working on a project you enjoy) or
altruistic (volunteering) activity. It will keep your mind off the bad and help
you focus on the good.

Try journaling. This can work in many ways. You can use a journal to write down
your thoughts, concerns, fears, etc. By physically writing them on paper, it can
help you remove them from your mind. You can also use your journal to make lists
of tasks at hand, projects you need to finish, even groceries you need to buy.
If these things are cluttering up your head, they're using up your valuable
energy needlessly.

Do Something You Love Everyday

Says Steve Brunkhorst, a professional life success coach, doing something
enjoyable everyday is "a great way to replenish the energy consumed during daily

This could be something small, like watching the sunset or taking your dog for a
long walk, or something more indulgent like heading to the spa for a Swedish
massage. It could mean taking time to be alone or getting together with a group
of friends.

Whatever you enjoy is up to you. Just make sure it gets done everyday. If you
like, you can add some of your favorite things to your journal, then pick one or
two to do each day.

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk

The more energy you expend over the small stuff, the less you have for the fun
(and necessary) stuff. Choosing your battles wisely is a key way to increase
your energy. All it takes is some conscious thinking on your part, and the
dedication to let those small daily annoyances glide off you like, well, spilled

If you're having trouble with this one, remember these great words from Bruce
Lee, " ... the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow
survives by bending with the wind."

Then There's the Obvious

If you know you have lifestyle habits (other than diet and exercise) that are
making you feel drained, change them! If you:

Stay up late watching the late show, then the late late show, then are late,
late, late for work in the morning, turn off the TV and go to sleep.

Try to cram two-week's worth of activities into one 24-hour day, ease up on your

Take on so many obligations with family and friends that they're no longer
enjoyable, learn to say no.

Still feel tried after make all these changes, consider getting help.

"It's very easy for someone to say, 'I'm just feeling tired because I'm run-down
and have too much going on,'" says Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD. "But the bottom
line is that fatigue could be a sign of a medical condition that can be treated
... If you have made the changes that make sense, and you're still feeling the
symptoms of fatigue, then you need professional help."

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