By: Frederick Entenmann
Today, there seems to be an energy crisis. Not within our environment—but within our bodies. Here are some of the top issues behind our great energy depletion and key points to help turn it all around:
According to Journal of the American Medical Association, as many as 80 percent of all physician visits are stress-related. Stress is one of the biggest culprits in our mental and physical energy crisis today. Stress suffocates your energy in a number of ways. With chronically elevated stress, your adrenal glands are tweaked. This keeps cortisol and other stress hormones high. Excess cortisol leads to a surge of glucose in order to facilitate the perceived “fight-or-flight” situation you’re living in.
How to fix it: Instead of caffeine or sugar for a pick-me-up, be proactive in buffering stress. Breathing exercises can switch off your sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system in seconds. Meditation, yoga, massage, qigong and tai-chi are all clinically proven to reduce stress load, enhance energy and well-being.
Despite getting 7-8 hours of sleep, you can still wake feeling exhausted. Sleep cycles are about 75-90 minutes each, cycling through phases of REM and non-REM sleep, plus all of the stages in between. Each phase correlates with specific regeneration or detoxification of cells and organs throughout your body. Factors like elevated cortisol (stress) levels and unstable blood sugar levels can throw off your sleep cycles. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend in bed if your sleep cycles are not healthy. Disrupted REM sleep has been found to be associated with mild psychological struggles such as irritability and difficulty concentrating.
How to fix it: Getting more sunlight exposure in the morning can help decrease cortisol levels later in the evening. Eat a well-balanced diet that’s focused on real food and avoid processed foods—good nutrition is the foundation to keeping your blood sugar stable at night.
Don't mistake the occasional workout for living an active lifestyle. If you work out an hour a day and then sit around the rest of the time, you're not much more active than the rest of the sedentary population.
How to fix it: The reality is, we human beings don’t “get” energy; we create energy. By simply moving around, your tissues generate a form of energy that's equivalent to an AC current charging up your cells. Doing 50 jumping jacks or bodyweight squats will generate enough electrical wattage to instantly make you feel more energized.
Your lack of energy could also be due to a lack of key nutrients. The main source of energy in our cells is something called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. It's essentially the currency that runs your body’s economy, but it can’t make any real transactions without the banker, magnesium. Though ATP is the main source of energy in cells, it must be bound to a magnesium ion (Mg) in order to be biologically active. So, ATP is really Mg-ATP. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzymatic processes that help keep you energized and healthy.
How to fix it: Magnesium gets zapped pretty quickly because it’s involved in so much. Make sure to eat 4-5 servings of magnesium rich foods like spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds and almonds every day. You can also consider adding in a magnesium supplement.
Drink More Fluids
Cell dehydration damages DNA. Because of this, your brain and nervous system take dehydration seriously. A small dip in normal fluid balance is enough to cause headaches and fatigue. Your cells, tissues, and organs are all operating in a water medium. The more murky that water starts to get, the more you start feeling symptoms of fatigue. When you drink a glass of water, within minutes that water begins to become your blood and extracellular fluid and pushes out the used fluid that’s now littered with metabolic waste products. If you don’t drink enough water, that stuff stays gummed up in your system, thus sluggishness.
How to fix it: Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. So, a 150lb. person needs 75 ounces. Give yourself an “inner bath” to start your day by drinking 20 to 30 ounces of water shortly after waking.
If you are feeling tired all the time, applying a few simple techniques can help. By relieving stress, optimizing your restful sleep, perking yourself up with a 30 second exercise, fixing a magnesium deficiency, and rehydrating you can increase your energy naturally. Turning to caffeine and sugary treats may be easy, but your long-term self will thank you for taking the holistic approach to your energy crisis.
About the Author:
Bestselling Author & Consultant
Founder & CEO of MIND BODY LIFE