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How to Increase Your Energy Levels – Physical

August 24, 2012

Last week’s article talked about functioning at your best and we identified the four categories that we need to spend some time on to be overall well balanced and support our energy levels. Our aim is to manage our energy so that we can manage our time better, be more productive, focused and reduce our stress. The quality of our energy is a reflection of our physical capacity.

The four levels of energy are:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Mental
  • Spiritual

This week, we will focus on Physical Energy levels and what we can do to look after ourselves physically so we can be the best possible in all aeas of our life.

Physical

It’s important to look after ourselves to be at our most efficient and productive. Ways to do this for our physical body include:

  • Sleep – enough rest and relaxation for your body
  • Nutrition – eating good healthy food regularly especially breakfast in the morning
  • Water – ensuring your body stays hydrated
  • Exercise – daily activity assists your body to perform at its best
  • Breathing – take the time to breathe deeply

Sleep

As individuals, we don’t give sleep the priority we should. Sleeping is one of the major ways for our minds and body to recover. Consider how you feel and function after a night when you didn’t get a ‘proper’ night’s sleep. It can affect your focus, concentration, energy, mood, memory, logic and even your reaction time.

We should go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each day for our body rhythms to be consistent. Know how much sleep you need to function at your best and ensure that becomes a priority.

The National Sleep Foundation reported that drowsy workers cost U.S. employers an estimated $18 billion annually in lost productivity. Research showed that too little sleep suppresses your immune function, which leads to increased infection and illnesses, creating more absenteeism. The quality of work, amount of work, and your concentration decline by 30% EACH when you’re sleepy.

Nutrition

We all know that the food we consume makes an incredible difference to our energy levels; a few tips include:

  • Eat more fruit and vegetables [at least two servings of fruit and five of vegetables]
  • Manage your portion size
  • Eat less processed food
  • Eat regular meals
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Limit the amount of snack food such as chips, lollies, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, and sausage rolls as they often contain excess salt, fat and sugar.

Include healthy snacks on your shopping list as this is where many of us get caught out. Perhaps keep dried fruit and nuts in your desk draw and store low-fat yoghurt in the fridge at work.

Water

We should be drinking at least eight glasses of water a day or eating food that’s high in water content. This will maintain hydration in our body.

The trick is to tie drinking water to a routine activity. For example, if you go on a morning walk take a water bottle. Before your morning cup of tea, drink a glass of water. Have another glass of water at lunch and another glass of water at afternoon teatime. Carry a water bottle in the car and every time you stop at traffic lights, have a drink. You can pick any activity as long as it’s something you do at least five days a week.

Exercise

Many of us want to spend more time exercising, but we can’t find the time. The key here is to change our thinking. Rather than trying to find time to exercise, what we need to do is invest time in exercise that will give us more energy.

The following statistics are from ‘The Power of Full Engagement’ by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. They reported the link between exercise exposure and performance.

  • DuPont reported a 47.5% reduction in absenteeism over a six-year period for participants in a corporate fitness program.
  • A study in the journal ergonomics concluded that fit workers committed 27% fewer errors on tasks involving concentration and short-term memory as compared to un-fit workers.
  • In a study of eighty executives over a nine-month period, those who worked out regularly improved their fitness by 22% and demonstrated a 70% improvement in their ability to make complex decisions as compared with non-exercisers.
  • The Canadian Life Assurance Company found that 63% of participants in a fitness program reported being more physically relaxed, less tired and more patient during the workday. Some 47% reported being more alert, having better rapport with supervisors and co-workers, and experiencing a higher level of enjoyment at work.

Breathing

Breathing is a tool to deeply relax and increase energy. Try this breathing technique:

  • Breath in – count to three,
  • Breath out to a count of six,
  • Do this three times.

It quiets the body, mind and emotions. Deep, smooth and rhythmic breathing is known to be a source of energy; it increases alertness, focus and relaxation. If you’re having a mid-project lull, perhaps a few deep breaths is all that you need to do to get your focus back on track.

If you start working on one of these areas each week in no time you will have developed some amazing new positive habits to boost your energy levels.

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