In honor of January’s Happy Fit ’15: Cheers to Feeling Fit and Fabulous! theme, we’re kicking off the month with 15 simple ways to naturally increase your energy (what better time to do so than post-holiday when we’re feeling completely burned out and need a boost to make it through the rest of winter?). We spoke with a few renowned professionals in the spa and wellness industry, who shared with us these following tips:
Wendy Sallin, Director of Fitness, PFC Fitness Camp, suggests:
1. Stay hydrated. “Drink half your body weight in ounces of water at minimum. When you exercise, you will need to drink more water to replenish what you have sweat out,” Sallin says.
2. “Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Eight hours is even better!” she continues.
3. “Work out in the morning before your day/workday begins!” Sallin replies. “Exercising will get your body’s metabolic machine revving for the rest of the day!
4. “Take multiple breaks during the day to take a brisk walk around the block, or up and down some stairs,” Sallin goes on. “These short active breaks will help clear your head and will help incorporate more motion into your day. The less you move, the more you will feel tired or lethargic. Energy begets energy!”
5. Plus, take added sugar out of your meal plan. “Doing so will help you avoid the highs and lows of a blood sugar crash. Eating protein with your good carbs will also help keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day,” Sallin concludes.
Sharon Rekieta, PhD, Fitness and Wellness Director and Clinical Psychologist, Lake Austin Spa Resort, shares:
6. Music to motivate! “Research shows that music lifts your mood, increases energy, and inspires you to work out longer and harder,” Rekieta tells us. “I always keep feel-good, ‘theme’ songs in my head that I can call on when an energy boost is needed.” (Her recent selections have included Happy by Pharrell Williams; Shake it Off by Taylor Swift; and Remember the Name by Fort Minor.
And, “if you’re inspired to move while listening to a tune, that’s fine. However, simply hearing motivational words set to a snappy beat can help you feel better in just a few minutes,” she offers.
7. Music to chill. “On the other hand, sometimes we have been on the run for so long pushing our limits that we are mentally fried and physically worn out. In those situations, a different playlist will calm the body, soothe the soul, and refresh our spirit,” Rekieta recommends. (Recent theme songs that fit the occasion, according to Rekieta: Peace by Norah Jones; Thankful by Josh Groban; and Let’s Be Still by The Head and the Heart.)
“It’s amazing how a few minutes of easy-listening will bring about a sense of peace, restore balance, and leave you feeling renewed and refreshed,” she adds.
8. Stand up and/or move. “Stand instead of sitting—my computer is on a counter that is at just the right height for typing—and that is where I am standing now,” Rekieta reveals. “When we sit, our organs compress, our muscles relax, and a message is sent to our brain that it is time to slow down so we become sluggish. When we stand, it is easier to take deep, energizing breaths, our muscles stay engaged, and our body is primed and ready for action.
“Now that you’re standing, get moving. If you’re at work, deliver a message to a colleague in person, walk a few flights of stairs, or offer to run an errand. I am fortunate that my office is located next to the training room at [Lake Austin Spa Resort]. Sometimes it will take several hours to complete a workout because I will work at my desk for 30 minutes and then spend five minutes completing a few circuits on the weight machines or striding on the elliptical. If you’re at home, find ways to move by playing ball with your kids, taking your dog for a walk, or vacuuming a couple of rooms. Activity does expend energy, however, in brief doses scattered throughout the day, it can also lift our spirits and provide an energy boost,” she concludes.
9. Breathe. “Step outside into the great outdoors and breathe in some fresh air—especially when conditions are brisk and frosty! At this time of year, many buildings are overheated and can become stuffy, lulling us into complacency. A little fresh-air jolt takes seconds and can do wonders for refreshing our body and stimulating our cognitive processes,” Rekieta shares. “If you are unable to step outside for a breath of fresh air, you can achieve the same results with a swing squat. Stand, take a deep, inhale while raising your arms overhead, as you exhale forcefully, smoothly drop into a squat while letting your arms swing down and back. Return to a standing position while inhaling and bringing your arms overhead. Repeat the swing squat rhythmically a half dozen times.”
10. As well, snack healthy. Keep your energy high by snacking on healthy and nutritious items each hour, Rekieta continues. “Options might include a handful of nuts, a couple of ounces of whole-grain cereal with skim milk, pieces of fruit dipped in almond butter, a fourth of the sandwich you brown-bagged to work, eight ounces of yogurt or crackers and cheese. The strategy is to keep your body fueled with protein and carbs without stuffing yourself. Do you remember how you felt after enjoying Thanksgiving dinner? Not much motivation to move with an overstuffed stomach, right? Little meals and healthy snacks will keep your body satisfied and your energy consistent.”
Experts at The Oaks at Ojai offer:
11. Appreciate! “Appreciate at least five things about your day—tie this in to your mindful breathing. What’s remarkable about that person sitting at the desk next to you? How great is it that the person in the car at the stoplight is listening to your favorite music?…It is a proven fact that writing down things we appreciate or keeping a regular journal of the things we appreciate in our lives makes us happier,” The Oaks at Ojai shares.
12. Meditation is a stress-reducer used by many; some fit folks meditate while they are walking—they call it “moving meditation,” the resort experts go on.
13. Set aside 15 minutes a day just for you. “This is your time to read, meditate, take a hot shower, or stretch. This 15 minutes should be in addition to your regular exercise. It will be time well-spent,” they suggest.
14. Clean up your thought life. “Negative emotions are exhausting and depleting, so think about what you’re thinking!” The Oaks at Ojai recommends. “If positive changes need to be made, work towards making them, but don’t allow non-productive negative thoughts about your burnout to simply circulate!”
15. Reconnect with your loves. “Well-rounded people recharge their batteries by taking time to do things that make them happy. Burnout takes away our joy and pleasure in life’s simple beauties—remind yourself of what makes you feel alive, excited, and energetic!” it says.
Plus, don’t forget to join our twitter chat around our theme, January 15, at 2 p.m. EST, as we, along with our experts, share 15 ways to live your healthiest, happiest year ever. Chat with us by following #Fit15!
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