Winter Energy Boosters

By on December 27, 2016

Colder and darker days have you feeling constantly drained and unmotivated? You’re not alone. Millions of Canadians at this time of year experience what is known as the “winter slump,” especially when our days have less sunlight. Find out how you can naturally boost your energy and make it through the winter months ahead.

Work it Out 

It might seem counterintuitive, but pushing yourself to do exercise when you are tired can help you feel more energetic. Research has found that exercise helps your heart pump more oxygen and nutrients to your bloodstream, which in turn, helps your lungs and cardiovascular system work more efficiently, and you feel more energized. What’s even better is that you don’t have to break a major sweat at the gym to get this feeling. Short, low-intensity physical activities at a leisurely pace (e.g. walking, riding a bike) is more than enough to give your mind and body that positive mood and energy boost it needs. A good 10-15-minute bout of physical activity can do just the trick. Once a day or up to three times a day is a good, achievable goal. Try adding upbeat music to your routine. Music can engage your body’s sympathetic nervous system and ready it for action – making your mind feel more motivated and your body more charged.

Make Proper Food Choices
One of the greatest mistakes people make when trying to fix low energy levels is with more food. Often, people pick up energy bars, sports drinks and caffeinated beverages to resolve their energy slumps even though they are not truly hungry. These foods are often laden with too many unnecessary calories, contain very little nutrition, and have high levels of caffeine that can give a false energy boost, followed by a sharp decline. Instead of relying on these foods as pick-me-ups, we should focus on balancing the nutrients we take in with real, whole foods. Choose mood and energy-boosting snacks and foods over “energy foods” or supplements to keep your energy levelled throughout the day. Having mini-meals or snacks spaced out will help keep your blood sugar levels and energy up. Choose foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium (e.g. trail mix, yogurt, cheese, nuts, dried fruits). Also, choose more whole plant-based foods like fresh/frozen or canned vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and lentils to help you restore proper nutrition and energy. It is also important to keep hydrated with water since dehydration can make you feel tired more easily.
   
Take Naps
Given that it is harder to fit in 6-8 hours of sleep each night, naps can help alleviate your sleep deprivation and recharge your body. Short naps between 20-30 minutes a day can help improve your mood, boost alertness and increase your work performance. For the best naps, choose a relaxed and quiet environment and a room with a temperature you are comfortable with. If you have trouble falling asleep, try putting on some light music in the background, have the lights dimmed, or change into some comfortable sleepwear. 

If you still feel exhausted and you find that some of these natural solutions are not working, visit your physician and registered dietitian for more personalized care. You may be experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome (a prolonged debilitating fatigue), menstrual-related fatigue, anemia, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, or other health-related conditions that require careful monitoring.

Rosanna Lee, PHEc., MHSc., BASc. is a nutrition and health expert, a professional home economist and an avid foodie with diverse experiences in healthcare, community nutrition, industry, education, public health and research. Her areas of interest include nutrition education, health promotion and online communications, with specialization in social media. Rosanna’s work has been featured in Huffington Post Canada, Healthy Living Magazine, The Canadian Society of Nutrition Managers (CSNM) Magazine, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, the Canadian Cancer Society and many others. She has a great passion for food, nutrition and health and loves to share and learn!

Connect with her online through LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rosanna-lee/23/79b/1b3) or follow her on Facebook through Nutrition Central (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nutrition-Central/550145005071354?fref=nf).

Got more questions? Email at rosannalee88@gmail.com or call at 647-889-8854.

 

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