What we're talking about in this episode
Need a boost? We all know the feeling when we’re lacking in energy and get-up-and-go, which can be particularly acute in the winter. In this episode we’ll look at simple ways to get more energy from:
- The foods we eat.
- Exercies and fitness.
- How we can supplement.
- Dr Sohere Roked - GP with a specialist interest in integrative medicine and trained in holistic and conventional medicine.
- Alex Glover - Senior Nutritionist at Holland & Barrett with a keen interest in human physiology, metabolic diseases and how nutrition can affect our predisposition to metabolic illnesses.
The expert guide to energy
Want more get-up-and-go? Here, Dr Sohère Roked, author of The Tiredness Cure, and Alex Glover, a senior nutritionist at Holland & Barrett, break down how to get your energy up.
Check your expectations
“People have different expectations of what they should be able to do”, says Dr Sohère Roked. “I speak to people who are up at 5am, they’re busy with their kids, exercising, working full time, they have hobbies and interests and they wonder why they feel tired. I’d be on the floor if I was doing as much as they are! Part of it is expectation, and as we’re all slightly different, knowing how you can enhance your energy in the best way.”
Tune into stress
“Stress has a huge impact on our energy, mood, and ability to have good quality sleep”, says Dr Roked. “If we have a lot of the stress hormone cortisol in our systems, doing a lot of vigorous exercise like intensive running or HIIT classes can be detrimental because it will push the cortisol up further, and that can make us feel more exhausted. I often ask my patients after they do their spin class or run if they feel good, or they feel initially good, but then exhausted that evening or the next day. That gives me a good idea of their stress levels and how their body is reacting to cortisol.”
“As we’re coming into winter we should all be taking Vitamin D – NICE recommends at least 10mcg a day between October and March,” says Alex Glover. “Of the other supplements that are marketed for energy, caffeine is probably the most evidenced, or if you’re deficient in magnesium or B12, supplementing will correct that..”
Swap coffee for star jumps
“If someone is having one coffee a day and they take pleasure from it, that’s a positive, but if somebody is reliant on it that’s not necessarily a good thing”, says Dr Roked. “It’s the same with sugar, a lot of people rely on that mid-afternoon sugar boost – I’m been guilty of it too, grabbing a cookie to keep going, but it gives you a temporary quick fix. Breathing exercises are really helpful, so if you feel sluggish, get up and take some deep breaths in and out through your mouth for 20 or 30 seconds. It sounds weird, but physically shaking your body can get energy moving around it, or if you’re in private, jumping up and down on the spot for 15 seconds can generate internal energy. These are all ways we can wake ourselves up.”
Keep it simple
“There are some easy things you can do straight away – like eating five fruits and vegetables a day, and moving more towards a whole foods diet, so not relying on things that are in packets”, says Glover. “Most grocers have budget rages, and there are vegetables and fruits in tins and frozen, which are great. Don’t try to do it all at once, do what fits for you. There’s no such thing as an optimal life, and any change is better than none.”
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