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Do you need a pick-me-up!!!! {Your Energy Levels}

My Fitness World: Do you need a pick-me-up!!!! {Your Energy Levels}

Tuesday, April 5

Do you need a pick-me-up!!!! {Your Energy Levels}

Need Energy....

Can't shake the feeling that you're running on empty? Are you running out of energy? Well you need to distress, and get more sleep. For those times when you just can't seem to kick it into gear, these smart strategies will rev even the crankiest engine fast.

How Blood Sugar and Oxygen Affect Your Energy.

Of course, for caffeine to interact with your nervous system, it first has to make its way into your bloodstream, the primary conductor of your body's energy. "Crucial elements for your energy -- oxygen and glucose -- are carried by your bloodstream and delivered to cells in your body, where they're converted into energy by the mitochondria," says Brooke Kalanick, a naturopathic doctor in New York City. "Unless you can adequately manage your blood sugar, or glucose, and your oxygen intake and delivery, your body simply can't run efficiently."

"We all know the feeling of waking up tired and downing a cup of coffee and a Danish on the way to the office for a pick-me-up," Kalanick adds. You feel superenergized for an hour or so, then boom, back down to earth -- so you grab more coffee and plow through work until you realize it's 2 p.m., you haven't had lunch yet and you're sluggish. Toss in a late lunch and mid-afternoon M&M's and your energy levels swing from low to high to low to high...and leave you tired by day's end, despite your having taken in plenty of calories.

The second role of your blood is to deliver oxygen to your muscles and organs, important for helping us pursue the activities we love -- in my case, Zumba. As a rule, she who can fill her bloodstream with the most oxygen has the best shot at reaching her goal, whether it's surviving a kickboxing class or winning a half-marathon. To improve that capacity, first you need a baseline of how much oxygen your blood can currently transport and deliver to your working muscles.

Oxygen is the fuel that helps you sustain your efforts in a workout. The higher the intensity you can sustain before the "burn" gets too intense, the more calories your body will use and the fitter you will become. So go have your VO2 check or tested at a gym. Ask them if they do VO2 testing. This is the best way to find out how your body uses oxygen and how fit you are. Plus they can help you find the best workout program for you, built around your VO2.

A final piece of the energy puzzle is muscle mass. The more your body is made up of muscle instead of fat, the more strength you'll have for daily activity. Women are naturally programmed to shed about a half pound of muscle every year after age 30. With it goes potential energy. The good news: You can counteract nature's course with strength-training. For most women that means incorporating twice-weekly weight-training sessions into their cardio routines to gain and maintain active lean tissue. Grab some hand weights and start working on your muscles. the more muscle you have the less fat you have.

3 Ways to Get Instant Energy

Take a stand. "The less overall activity you do, the less energy is required to keep you functioning, because you're not using your active tissue," says Sims. Desk jobs can be major energy drainers: Fat-burning enzymes start switching off when you're inactive for too long, and they can plummet 50 percent or more after a full day of not standing, research shows. Every 30 minutes, stand and stretch.

Walk it off. Feeling the mid-afternoon slump? "Movement creates energy," says Robert E. Thayer, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach, and author of Calm Energy. Thayer's research has found that just 10 minutes of brisk walking can increase energy for two hours. "In 10 minutes of walking, your brain is infused with the neuro­transmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, which increase alertness."

Get the right mix. The fastest way to have sustainable energy without a crash is via a snack that includes carbs, protein, and a little fat (crackers with peanut butter; yogurt and a slice of whole wheat bread). Fats give you an immediate boost, complex carbs sustain blood sugar levels, and protein keeps your energy up for several hours. So go grab a protein shake for a snack.

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