Manage your energy, as well as your time
Feeling energised can be the key to a happy and healthy lifestyle, providing a positive impact on your career. A healthy lifestyle can be challenging. If one area of the body suffers, it can affect other areas of life. Focusing on the three elements of the Physical Energy Pyramid will help you to feel alert and energised. The pyramid is made up of three corners: Fuel (nutrition), Exercise and Sleep.
- What is a fuel?
- How can fuels affect your energy levels throughout the day?
As with any ‘machine’, the body must have fuel to keep it going. Running on empty can often lead to poor performance and health issues. Understanding what type of foods are sustainable fuels will enable you to keep your energy levels up, as opposed to them fluctuating throughout the day. It is important to recognise which fuels are sustainable, and what foods make your energy levels shoot up and crash back down again. Although fuels like energy drinks and coffee can give you an instant hit of energy, they often have reverse affects and make you crash harder than you felt before consuming the fuel.
The Glycaemic Index (GI) assesses how quickly a piece of food releases energy into the body. It is associated with the carbohydrates in food and indicates the reaction on a person’s blood glucose levels, thus linking to one’s energy levels. Energy is sustained within the body for longer when the GI rating is lower. Being aware of the GI rating will help you to understand what fuels will be more affective for different activities such as exercise or working throughout the day.
(The GI rating is not to be confused with the amount of calories in a food source. A low GI food is not necessarily low in calories!)
- How much exercise will improve your physical and mental energy levels.
- What intensity of exercise will increase your heart rate?
30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, at least five times a week, is recommended to stay healthy. Exercising causes the body to produce endorphins, chemicals that help you feel happier and more peaceful. We all know that exercising can help you to look better; in turn improving your self-esteem; but it can reduce the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer by up to 50% and lower the risk of early death by up to 30%.
“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant. [NHS https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/whybeactive.aspx]
You do not need to splash the cash on expensive gym memberships or workout videos. Exercise is free and once in the swing of things, can become very enjoyable. Daily walking and cycling instead of using the car, will contribute to your daily exercise. Increasing your heart rate, breathing faster and feeling warmer will actively benefit your health. Regular exercise can help with a better night’s sleep, encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Given the evidence, it seems obvious that everyone should be physically active.
- How much sleep is enough sleep?
- Can sleep have a positive effect on your image?
Sleep is the third pillar of the physical energy pyramid. Although diet and exercise are significant components of healthy lifestyles, it is also important to remember that sleep is inherently linked to how we eat, exercise and function on a daily basis. A good night sleep can improve your concentration and productivity.
For those that wake during the night with a worry or an idea, it is helpful to have a notepad by the side of your bed so you can write it down. Getting your thoughts on paper is a good stress reliever and can help keep your worries at bay, to ensure a good night sleep.
Having a regular bedtime routine, will help your body get to know when it is time for sleep, easing any issues. Your bedroom should be dark, cool and quiet to ensure a relaxing environment. You need to make time for yourself before bedtime. Ensure you have a set period to get your body ready to sleep. Avoid coffee, chocolate and energy drinks 2-3 hours before sleeping. If you still have problems sleeping well regularly, then it might be useful to seek help.