Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 10th 2014 Contents A32
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Lack of sleep isn t the only thing
sapping your energy.
Little things you do (and don t do)
can exhaust you both mentally and
physically, which can make getting
through your day a chore.
Here, experts reveal common bad
habits that can make you feel tired, plus
simple lifestyle tweaks that will put the
pep back in your step.
You skip exercise
when you're tired
Skipping your workout to save energy
actually works against you.
In a University of Georgia study,
sedentary but otherwise healthy adults
who began exercising lightly three days
a week for as little as 20 minutes at a
time reported feeling less fatigued and
more energised after six weeks.
Regular exercise boosts strength and
endurance, helps make your cardiovas-
cular system run more efficiently, and
delivers oxygen and nutrients to your
tissues. So next time you re tempted to
crash on the couch, at least go for a
brisk walk---you won t regret it.
You don't drink enough water
Being even slightly dehydrated---as
little as 2 per cent of normal fluid loss---
takes a toll on energy levels, says Amy
Goodson, RD, a dietitian for Texas Health
Ben Hogan Sports Medicine.
Dehydration causes a reduction in
blood volume, explains Goodson, which
makes the blood thicker. This requires
your heart to pump less efficiently,
reducing the speed at which oxygen and
nutrients reach your muscles and organs.
To calculate your normal fluid needs,
take your weight in pounds, divide in
half and drink that number of ounces
of fluid a day, Goodson recommends.
You're not consuming enough iron
An iron deficiency can leave you feel-
ing sluggish, irritable, weak, and unable
"It makes you tired because less oxy-
gen travels to the muscles and cells,"
Boost your iron intake to reduce your
risk of anaemia: load up on lean beef,
kidney beans, tofu, eggs (including the
yolk), dark green leafy vegetables, nuts,
and peanut butter, and pair them with
foods high in vitamin C (vitamin C
improves iron absorption when eaten
together), suggests Goodson.
You're a perfectionist
Striving to be perfect---which, let s
face it, is impossible---makes you work
much harder and longer than necessary,
says Irene S Levine, PhD, professor of
psychiatry at the New York University
School of Medicine.
"You set goals that are so unrealistic
that they are difficult or impossible to
achieve, and in the end, there is no sense
Levine recommends setting a time
limit for yourself on your projects, and
taking care to obey it.
You make mountains
out of molehills
If you assume that you re about to
get fired when your boss calls you into
an unexpected meeting, or you re too
afraid to ride your bike because you
worry you ll get into an accident, then
you re guilty of "catastrophising," or
expecting that the worst-case scenario
will always occur. This anxiety can paral-
yse you and make you mentally exhaust-
ed, says Levine.
When you catch yourself having these
thoughts, take a deep breath and ask
yourself how likely it is that the worst
really will happen. Getting outdoors,
meditating, exercising, or sharing your
concerns with a friend may help you
better cope and become more realistic.
You skip breakfast
The food you eat fuels your body, and
when you sleep, your body continues
using what you consumed at dinner the
night before to keep your blood pumping
and oxygen flowing. So, when you wake
up in the morning, you need to refuel
with breakfast. Skip it, and you ll feel
"Eating breakfast is like starting a fire
in your body by kickstarting your metab-
olism," Goodson says.
Goodson recommends a breakfast
that includes whole grains, lean protein,
and healthy fat. Good examples include
oatmeal with protein powder and a dab
of peanut butter; a smoothie made with
fruit, protein powder, low-fat milk, and
almond butter; or eggs with two slices
of whole-wheat toast and low-fat Greek
You work through vacation
Checking your e-mail when you
should be relaxing by the pool puts you
at risk of burnout, says Lombardo.
Unplugging and allowing yourself to
truly unwind allows your mind and body
to rejuvenate and return to the office
stronger. "When you truly take breaks,
you will be more creative, productive,
and effective when you return," says
You rely on caffeine to
get through the day
Starting your morning with a java jolt
is no big deal---in fact, studies show that
up to three daily cups of coffee is good
for you---but using caffeine improperly
can seriously disrupt your sleep-wake
cycle, says Dr Towfigh.
Caffeine blocks adenosine, the
byproduct of active cells that drives you
to sleep as it accumulates, he explains.
A study published in the Journal of Clin-
ical Sleep Medicine revealed that con-
suming caffeine even six hours prior to
bedtime affects sleep, so cut yourself
off by mid-afternoon and watch out for
these surprising sources of caffeine.
Bad habits that
drain your energy
Checking your e-mail when you should be relaxing on the beach puts you at risk of burnout.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
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