Everyday energy

HEALTH:

We all know that exercise improves your health and your physique, but it also benefits your energy levels and mood.

If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning and find yourself flagging throughout the day, try the following tips to help you to remain energised.

EXERCISE:

1Research confirms that regular exercise gives you more energy, so always try to fit in some physical activity. Any kind of brisk movement will do; even walking the dog, doing the hoovering or working on your garden.

Get it done early in the day and your levels of the hormone melatonin will be higher at night, helping you to sleep better and feel more refreshed and alert the following day.

NUTRITION:

Although they provide a burst of short-lived fuel, refined carbohydrates will ultimately leave you feeling sluggish and tired after eating.

The trick for staying alert is to opt for nutrient-rich, wholegrain carbohydrates, paired with a source of protein. This combination releases energy more slowly and give you a gradual boost of long-lasting energy.

© Sarah West Nutrition

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Water = weight loss?

HEALTH:

It’s a popular dieting tip: drink more water and you’ll shed extra pounds. Sounds simple enough, but does it really work?

Studies have supported the idea, showing that overweight people who drink two cups of water half an hour before each meal eat 75 fewer daily calories and lose 5 pounds more than those who don’t. Water drinkers are also shown to be more likely to keep the weight off long term.

EXERCISE:

Staying hydrated is essential for everyone, but those who exercise regularly have an even greater need to keep drinking. Research has shown that losing as little as 2% percent of your body weight through sweating creates 3a drop in blood volume, causing the heart to work harder to circulate blood.

A drop in blood volume can also lead to muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue and heat stroke, making adequate water intake essential for comfort, performance and safety when exercising. So to get the best results in the gym, never go thirsty.

NUTRITION:

Water is no magic potion; it is believed to help people shed pounds simply because it contains no calories and fills up the stomach, making you feel less hungry and less inclined to overeat.

However, drinking more water also stops people from reaching for high-calorie, sugar-filled beverages; and the fewer calories you get from drinks, the healthier (and slimmer) you’ll be. It all counts!

© Sarah West Nutrition

Eat like an athlete

HEALTH:

Training for sport requires a combination of endurance, strength, speed and agility. High energy requirements coupled with high fluid loss and the potential for injury make a well-established nutrition strategy a must in order to get the best results possible.

EXERCISE:

To stay hydrated, you must drink plenty of fluids before, during and after a training session.

4Water is all that is needed if you’re exercising for less than an hour, but sports drinks or diluted fruit juice are a better choice for longer workouts. These contain sugars which provide fuel for the exercising muscles and help speed up the absorption of water into your bloodstream.

NUTRITION:

A diet rich in carbohydrates will provide energy to maintain performance and assist recovery. A high carb, low fat meal should be eaten 2-3 hours before you begin training, with yet more carb-rich foods consumed soon afterwards to help replenish glycogen stores.

It is also important to include protein-packed foods post-workout to aid the repair and growth of muscle fibres.

 

© Sarah West Nutrition

Festive feel-good

HEALTH:

Although it is a time of year to be enjoyed, an excess of rich food and alcohol over the Christmas period can begin to add up, leaving you feeling tired, overweight and unfit.

The good news is, you don’t have to forgo the parties and goodies completely to stay healthy and energised this month.

EXERCISE:

It’s OK to divide your exercise into 10 minute intervals if that’s all you have time for; not only is a short workout much better than nothing at all, but once you’ve started you might 5find that you really do have the energy – and time – to go for longer.

Just 10 minutes of moderate exercise is enough to improve your mood, your vigour and also decrease fatigue.

NUTRITION:

Drinking too much the night before can mean you’re tempted to pig out on junk food, but why not try something more nutritious to help counteract the sore head?

Eggs not only provide a boost of energy, but they’re also a good source of cysteine; the substance that breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde in the liver. This makes scrambled or poached eggs on wholemeal toast the ideal restorative breakfast.

© Sarah West Nutrition

Make the effort

HEALTH:

It was Woody Allen who famously commented that “90% of success is just showing up”. Well the same applies for the gym;  the hardest part is often just making the effort to get there.

You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you need to run or the amount you can bench press later; make your first priority simply packing your gym kit and getting through the door.

EXERCISE:

Once you have an exercise habit, it quickly becomes automatic. But after a week, a month or even a year off, it can be hard to get started again. The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop: avoid taking long breaks from the gym or you’ll find rebuilding the habit will take a lot more effort.

To keep the momentum going, try jotting down how great you feel after a really good workout and use it as a reference the next time you’re tempted to take a break.

NUTRITION:

Often the first area to be compromised when we are busy and feeling stressed is our diet; hectic lifestyles can lead to a reliance on convenience foods, which lack essential vitamins and minerals.

In turn, feeling stressed makes it more difficult for our bodies to absorb vital nutrients from food, particularly the B vitamins and vitamin C (which support our bodies in times of stress). It’s therefore very important to make an effort with your diet, however stressed out you feel.

© Sarah West Nutrition