We all feel livelier and healthier during summer, but do you wish you could feel more energised all year? We share the latest advice from experts to raise energy and slow down ageing.
How to feel more energised everyday…
Eat two kiwi fruit
Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that doing so boosted mood and energy levels in a group of otherwise healthy folk. According to Professor Margreet Vissers, the fruit’s high vitamin C content helps activate the enzymes in your body that produce energy.
Avoid eating wheat
In his book, A Great Day at the Office, Dr John Briffa explains, “Sensitivity to wheat frequently manifests as fatigue. If you’re knocked out in the afternoon, it might have something to do with the sandwich you had at lunch.” For the next few days, avoid bread midday and see what happens to afternoon energy.
Take a morning walk
Light in the morning is one of the best ways to boost your energy throughout the day and a morning walk is ideal for this. Plus, it might help you to control your weight. New research out of the US has found that the more bright light people were exposed to between the hours of 6am and 9am, the lower their BMI. They don’t know exactly why this is, but it might be related to lower levels of appetite hormones.
Fat-fuel your coffee
There’s no doubt that coffee wakes you up, but it can cause energy crashes a few hours later. “Adding a little fat helps stop that jittery feeling it can cause, and prevents energy lows,” says holistic-health guru Paul Chek. Milk won’t work because it contains sugar – so try your coffee black with a teaspoon of coconut oil; admittedly, it’s an acquired taste, but some love it.
“The air we breathe contains only 21% oxygen – so we need to breathe well to maximise intake,” says Bowen Technique practitioner Caroline Kremer. She suggests this move a few times a day: “Purse your lips and slowly exhale fully by gently blowing out. At the bottom of the breath, pause, then let your body just breathe in deeply. Repeat for one or two minutes.”
The exercise formula that boosts health and energy
While you need to do 30 minutes of movement a day for good health, the idea that you need to do one long burst is no longer the case. Scientists have determined that “exercise snacking” – where you do three 10-minute bursts of exercise a day – can have the same health benefits as one long session. In fact, the latest research from a team of scientists in New Zealand says that even just doing one minute of a fast move, such as star jumps, before meals could dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes.
Here’s how to do it…
Aim for shorter sessions that last from one to 10 minutes.
These short sessions should add up to a total of 30 minutes every day.
This is key. Just ambling to the kettle won’t work. You really need to become out of breath. Take brisk walks, climb the stairs, go for short runs – and, ideally, add a couple of one-minute bursts where you work as hard as you can, doing something such as star jumps or jogging on the spot. That was what got results in the recent New Zealand trials.
Make time to relax and sleep
Getting enough good-quality sleep is one of the best ways to feel more energised throughout the day.
Try these solutions:
F.lux. The bright light from devices used at night is proving one of our biggest sleep stealers. This software can be downloaded to laptops and PCs to alter your screen’s brightness and colour to mimic a more natural light so you’re not staring at a too-bright laptop just before bed. Free at Just Get Flux.
Cherry juice – new trials from the US say drinking this twice a day for two weeks increases sleep time by nearly 90 minutes in adults with insomnia. It increases levels of the sleep hormone melatonin in the body. Can’t find the juice? Try Viridian Cherry Night Powder, R495 for 150g.
ASMR videos. Every night, thousands of insomniacs worldwide are turning on their computers and watching online videos of people whispering or having their hair brushed to help them go back to sleep – and they’re raving about them.
“The people who watch my videos say doing so induces a deep state of relaxation,” says Emily, the voice of the ASMR videos on YouTube. “They experience the same relaxing change in brain waves as someone actually having the treatment.”
WATCH: Here’s an idea of what to expect in an ASMR video:
Omega 3. Recent studies out of Oxford University found that giving this supplement to children improved their sleep, “and it’s suggested that adults should expect the same results,” says Professor Paul Montgomery. The theory is that a substance called DHA in the fat either helps the body release melatonin or helps lower anxiety – both of which aid sleep. Try The Real Thing Mega Omega Supreme, R197 for 60 capsules.