5 Back-to-Basics Strategies for Renewing Your Energy
“A person of intellect without energy added to it, is a failure.”
- Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort
Here are my basic strategies for renewing energy at the physical level. Some of them are so familiar they’ve become background noise, easy to ignore. That’s why I’m repeating them. If any of these strategies aren’t part of your life now, their absence may help account for fatigue, irritability, lack of emotional resilience, difficulty concentrating, and even a flagging sense of purpose.
1. Actually do all those healthy things you know you ought to do.
Eat five or six small meals a day: people who eat just one or two meals a day with long periods in between force their bodies into a conservation mode, which translates into slower metabolism.
Always eat breakfast: eating first thing in the morning sends your body the signal that it need not slow metabolism to conserve energy.
Eat a balanced diet: despite all the conflicting nutritional research, overwhelming evidence suggests that a healthy dietary ratio is 50% to 60% complex carbohydrates, 25% to 35% protein, and 20% to 25% fat.
Dramatically reduce simple sugars: in addition to representing empty calories, sugar causes energy-depleting spikes in blood glucose levels.
Drink four to five 12-ounce glasses of water daily, even if you don’t feel thirsty: as much as half the population walks around with mild chronic dehydration.
And finally, on the “you know you should” list: get physically active. I strongly recommend three to four 20 to 30-minute cardiovascular workouts a week, including at least two sessions of intervals – short bursts of intense exertion followed by brief recovery periods.
2. Go to bed early and wake up early.
Night owls have a much more difficult time dealing with the demands of today’s business world, because typically, they still have to get up with the early birds. They’re often groggy and unfocused in the mornings, dependent on caffeine and sugary snacks to keep up their energy. You can establish new sleep rituals. Biological clocks are not fixed in our genes.
3. Maintain a consistent bedtime and wake-up time.
As important as the number of hours you sleep (ideally seven to eight) is the consistency of the recovery wave you create. Regular sleep cycles help regulate your other biological clocks and increase the likelihood that the sleep you get will be deep and restful.
4. Seek recovery every 90 to 120 minutes.
Chronobiologists have found that the body’s hormone, glucose, and blood pressure levels drop every 90 minutes or so. By failing to seek recovery and overriding the body’s natural stress-rest cycles, overall capacity is compromised. Even short, focused breaks can promote significant recovery. I suggest five sources of restoration: eat something, hydrate, move physically, change channels mentally, and change channels emotionally.
5. Do at least two weight-training workouts a week.
No form of exercise more powerfully turns back the markers of age than weight training. It increases strength, retards osteoporosis, speeds up metabolism, enhances mobility, improves posture, and dramatically increases energy.
Follow these simple advices, and you’ll dramatically improve your work performance.
Note: This article is written as part of Darren’s latest Group Writing Project – Top 5.
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