by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
You’re fighting a cold. Or, is your son or daughter the one fighting a cold? There’s a laundry list of chores to be done, including holiday shopping. (Yes, it’s already been downgraded to a chore.) Speaking of laundry, you might want to check the growing piles for the keys you seemed to misplace. Craving a little energy? Here are some boosters …
Shorter days, colder air, and the hectic holidays don’t always mix. Admit it, some of us have been lagging since we moved the clocks back. Being thrown into the demand of year-end deadlines, budget plans, and a gift list the size of Santa’s seems like plain old bad timing. Alas, the calendar is not going to change. December will never follow June, so get energized.
Keep the Fitness Momentum
Aerobic exercise increases stamina and energy over the long-term. When starting any new fitness program, you may feel initially fatigued. So stay the course. After a heart-pumping workout, you’ll have an extra spring in your step that will carry through your entire to-do list. A toned body is more efficient. Movement is more fluid and requires less exertion when you’re fit.
In “This Holiday Season– Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy,” (www.fitnessandwellnessnews.com, November 24, 2010), we suggest you try a new Group Fitness class to stay committed to fitness during the holidays and throughout the winter. Go for a class that exudes energy. The more you expend, the more you gain.
Consider a Group Groove class, with its motto, “If you can move, you can groove.” Stomp, wiggle, shake, slide, and laugh through this zesty fitness class. You’ll walk away invigorated.
On the Exercise Floor, keep the momentum going with an upbeat song list. Sounds like a no brainer. Realistically though, how often do you take time to add fresh songs to your workout or compile a playlist designated for pumping iron or cycling? Change it up and be sure only fast-tempo is included in your exercise music. Just one mellow song can throw off an impressive pace. (We won’t even discuss songs with bad memory associations. Tissues aren’t readily available on the Exercise Floor.)
Energize the Ordinary
Take your workout music with you. Listening to songs you associate with fitness and feeling good can energize you beyond treadmill time. Inspired by songs from your Zumba class? Find your own copy to get you moving later (like at day’s end when you’re still searching for those lost keys). A positive audio experience can make house cleaning, bill paying, and even grocery shopping go a little quicker.
Increase movement throughout your day. Enjoy some stretches or calisthenics. Short bursts of physical activity increase blood circulation. You’ll notice a perkier attitude after the first burst. Take advantage of speaker phone to (quietly) multitask talk time with jumping jacks. Time some ab crunches against the microwave timer. Notice your progress from one day to the next. Soon, you’ll have enough stamina to microwave an entire meal. Try a quick burst after reading this. In a few short minutes, your second wind can blow you out of a post-lunch slump.
Soak up the Sun
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean it’s dreary. Remember to get your dose of sunshine. We all need a healthy amount of vitamin D to activate our calcium intake. Researchers also believe this vitamin fights off depression, a total energy-zapper. The sun’s rays are thought to regulate special receptors in the eyes that regulate body clock and mood.
A bright day in itself can be very motivating. Even though you can’t don shorts and sandals, get out for fresh air and sun. Nature energizes. Open the curtains, crack a window, and let it stream in.
Inspire Yourself and Others
Share positive energy with those around you. Although you may not feel very inspired, talk the talk. Charisma is often contagious. Give a pep talk and get some pep of your own. Acknowledge another’s accomplishment with vigor and excitement. Your words will validate their achievements and inspire your own. When topics become tired, change the subject. Challenge yourself to avoid negative conversations and the thoughts that follow. Negativisms are heavy and weigh us down. It’s hard to keep up the pace when cloaked in negativity.
Create a fitness board. Clip articles about your latest win, whether it was on the field or behind your desk. Hang a memo from your boss about a job well done, print a complimentary e-mail from your spouse, hang up a joke. (Studies suggest laughter can reduce blood pressure, decrease stress hormones, and increase endorphins. Plus, it simply feels good.) Include an inspiring quote, a personal mantra, or a photo that represents a goal achieved. Now, try to sit around while all that stares at you. Double dare.
Eliminate Energy Busters
We all have them. Annoyances that distract us from the task at hand. Procrastination is often considered a way to accomplish irrelevant tasks in avoidance of the real project. You may not get to the Center for a class, but you manage to clean out the junk drawer in your kitchen, sweep out your garage, and follow up on insignificant phone calls (the cable company, again).
There is a time and place for everything. Although you may feel like you accomplished a lot, it’s a superficial veil over the guilt that will later ensue from missing your workout or neglecting the bigger picture. You may have written holiday cards or bought stocking stuffers, but you haven’t fed the self-meter—the one that charges your energy.
Identify your priorities and focus on them. Block out other nuisance tasks that drain energy. Fit them in around life, not as the focus of it. Do tend to issues that drive you crazy on a daily basis. They, too, can drain energy. Simple things like changing a light bulb or replacing a gadget that only works intermittently eliminates tiring frustration. As for all the other minutia— let it go.
Check out this week’s Slice of Wellness for poetic advice on how to eliminate energy burdens. (Right-hand column.)
Take these facts with you to your workplace, down aisles of stores, and into your laundry room. When you’re feeling dog-tired and still have a deadline to meet or a lunch to pack, get moving. You’re just one energy burst away from getting it done!
- From 1945 to 2005, large-scale studies measured the amount of physical activity participants were doing and how much energy or fatigue they experienced. There was a direct link between those who were physically active and reduced fatigue.
- Research has also proven those who suffer from illnesses like cancer or heart disease can minimize fatigue through exercise.
A dose of exercise can deliver a better jolt, and a healthier one, than a cup of caffeine. Step into the Center for a shot of fitness espresso.
“Eliminate Energy Drains,” by Edward T. Creagan at www.mayoclinic.com.
“Exercise Increases Energy and Fights Fatigue,” by Mark Stibich at www.about.com.
“Ready, Set, Recharge! 24 Ways to Boost Your Energy and Your Mood,” by Joanne Chen at www.fitnessmagazine.com.
Jumping Jack: www.flickr.com/photos/skiermatt2/4245737283/