I have often wondered how it is possible for me to feel tired after a day of sitting in a cubicle, but somehow feel energized after a day of nonstop activity. I knew there was a scientific explanation behind this question, and with a little searching on WebMD, I was able to come up with an answer.
As it turns out, there is something to be said about Newton’s First Law of Motion when applied to our bodies: an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. If we are sitting in a chair all day long, our bodies possess the ability to recognize this relaxed state and “shut down” accordingly. As one exercise physiologist points out over at WebMD, our bodies are made to be in motion. But in a society where “convenience” is the word of the day, everyday, it can be hard to put this seemingly obvious necessity – aka movement – into practice.
I spent the summer completing an internship that was a wonderful working experience, but required me to spend the majority of my waking hours – 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday – in a relatively sedentary position. I was unable to wake up early to work out because of the time constraints of a campus gym. And every day, by the time 5:30 pm rolled around, the last thing I wanted to do was head to the gym. In fact, I even started to begrudge my nighttime workouts – a position I have never been in before, and really never want to be in again!
As I enter into my senior year of college, I have begun the job hunting process, looking for positions that I may enter into and stick with for several years into the future. Unfortunately, these jobs do not give me the luxury of moving around all day – they, too, are relatively sedentary.
Therefore time is of the essence. I must figure out some way to keep my energy level screaming, “up and at ’em!” and avoid getting stuck in the same energy rut I found myself in this summer.
I already know that exercise = energy. But when I’m not exergizing – or creating my own words – I need to know what else I should be doing to keep myself fueled and feeling my best.
After doing some research, I have developed a list of the Top Five Ways to Jump Start Your Body. I picture it this way: if the human body is like a car, these five tips are the gas that keeps the engine running.
–Fill your tank with fruit and fiber. “I like to eat, eat, eat – apples and bananas.”
I miss my childhood.
Anyway, fruits such as apples and bananas have so many essential vitamins and minerals, and the fiber content provides much needed sustenance. While it may be true that any and all carbohydrates will turn into glucose for energy, it’s the carbohydrates from fruit that will give energy without taking it away later.
–Eat, eat, eat…then sleep, sleep, sleep!
Getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night will keep the body on track from day to day. I’ve also learned that it’s best to develop a specific sleep/wake pattern and stick to it like glue – even on the weekends. Staying up or sleeping late may seem like a good idea at the time, but it may cause trouble on Sunday night and Monday morning, throwing the body off schedule at the very beginning of the week. No me gusta.
–Guzzle up water like your tank guzzles up gas…and your $$$.
Dehydration plays a big role in fatigue and drops in energy levels. The age old recommendation of 8 glasses of water a day – or 64 oz. – is a good one, but if you’re exercising, it may be a good idea to take in even more. Other suggestions I’ve heard are to drink anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of your weight in ounces of water. But don’t limit yourself – if you’re thirsty, drink up and say cheers to your health!
When life comes at you fast and stress levels start shooting through the ceiling, take a step back and focus on making sure to breathe. Close your eyes and focus on inhaling and exhaling fully, paying extra attention to the air as it goes in and out of your body. Research shows that too much shallow breathing can hinder endurance and send the body into exhaustion mode.
–Don’t forget to laugh.
Laughter releases endorphins, which, like exercise, provide stimulation for the body. It also keeps us from being bored, and is just plain fun Next time you laugh, make sure it’s one of those hearty belly laughs that leaves you with a smile plastered to your face Just like Mr. Green!
There are, I’m sure, many other ways to boost energy. I know that I could personally benefit from hearing what YOU have to say on the topic. I’ve included some starter questions below, but feel free to add on to my list with your own thoughts and opinions. Let’s get “exergized” together!
1. What do you do to keep your energy level at its highest?
2. If you have a sedentary job, what are your tips for staying active?