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Give Your Energy Level a Tune-Up

Do you often feel sluggish during the day? It might be time to give your energy level a tune-up.

Your body requires energy to function. How much energy you have available depends on several factors, including:

  • The amount and kinds of food you eat

  • How efficiently you convert food into energy

  • How your body uses and stores energy

  • The quantity and quality of your sleep

Your mental and emotional states also play a role in your energy level. For example, if you're worried or bored, you may feel fatigued even when you're sleeping and eating well. In the same way, poor diet or poor sleep habits promote stress.

To keep your energy level at its peak, adopt a schedule of daily maintenance that will give your body what you need, when you need it. Consume just enough food to meet your body's demands and follow through with regular activity and rest to use that energy efficiently.

These strategies will help you keep your energy level in balance.

Fuel up often

If you tend to eat big, heavy meals, they could actually be making you feel tired. In contrast, eating smaller, healthy meals distributes energy calories more evenly and keeps your blood sugar normal throughout the day.

One strategy: Split breakfast and lunch into 2 meals each. You might kick-start your morning with a high-fiber cereal, skim milk, and juice ? then, a couple of hours later, eat a small, whole-grain muffin and a piece of fruit. At lunch, save your yogurt or part of your salad for later in the day.

If you need a pick-me-up, beware of simple sugars, such as candy ? they give a quick boost but quickly let you down.

When you drink coffee or colas, alternate them with water or other caffeine-free fluids.

Choose to use it

Exercise also helps you maintain a higher rate of metabolism, so you use energy more efficiently.

For peak energy, do strength training and stretching exercises several times a week, and get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity 3 to 4 times a week.

Give it a rest

Devise a sleep strategy based on regular sleep periods that begin and end at the same times each day. If you're constantly napping or struggling to stay awake, you're probably sleep-deprived. If you're having trouble sleeping, make changes in your routine, such as limiting caffeine drinks and taking a hot bath before bed.

Quality of sleep is also important. If you're sleeping 8 or more hours and still feel tired or sluggish or are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may have a sleep disorder that prevents your body from getting the rest it needs. Check with your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms.

Recharge your spirit

Try to see the useful side of any problems or challenges that arise. Before getting out of bed in the morning, think of the positive aspects of your day and plan ahead to strike a balance that allows you to have some private time for reflection, journal writing, or prayer.

Remember that a balanced life requires attention to the physical, emotional, and spiritual components of your daily routine. Give some thought to how you can provide balance in your daily life. Even small lifestyle changes can have major positive results on your energy level.

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