23 Get-You-Through-the-Day Energy-Boosters

We crave it, lust after it, would give our firstborn for it (especially our just-born). Energy is the hot currency in this breathless, sleep-deprived, 100-miles-per-hour world.

Acupuncturist and herbalist Christopher Hobbs attributes our energy shortage to mismanagement. “We take great care in running our finances, but we never think about managing our energy,” he says. Using the bank analogy, the three key questions to ask yourself are: How can you increase the day-to-day amount you have available? How can you add to your savings account—your deeper reserves? And is there any way to use it all more efficiently? “The amount we have on tap would surprise most people,” Hobbs says. He and the rest of a team of 15 medical experts O brought together to lead us toward better health have a host of ideas about how to infuse a little more energy into each day.

1. Make a list of everything you plan to do today: In Column A, include the activities that drain you; in column B, those that replenish you. Now figure out how to remove one item from A and add one to B.

2. Don’t even think about having a bagel or doughnut (refined carbs) for breakfast. Complex carbs, especially uncooked ones (like muesli), and a bit of protein will give you slow, sustained energy.

3. Take an extra step—and 499 more. “Exercise gets your heart pumping more blood to the muscles,” says internist Marianne Legato, MD. “It’s one of the best antidotes to fatigue.”

4. Plug into a great memory of you bursting with excitement—your first crush, a big promotion. Relive it in your mind. “Enthusiasm, radiance, joy—these energetic states come from happy emotions,” says stress expert Alice Domar, PhD.

5. Get a blood test for both low thyroid function and anemia—two of the most common, and treatable, causes of fatigue.

6. When you get home from work, stretch for five minutes. “It takes energy to hold our muscles tight—a big waster,” Hobbs says.

7. Don’t turn on the TV for 24 hours. “Television,” Domar says, “can suck the energy right out of you.”

8. Assign one of your regular chores to another member of your household. If you live alone, is there one task (laundry, dog walking) you can hire someone to do?

9. Do you spend your mornings hooked up to a coffee mug? Try smaller amounts of caffeine—you may feel more acceleration with less. Or switch to green tea, which has some caffeine and lots of cancer-fighting antioxidants.

10. If you have the opportunity, flirt, even if you’re in a wonderful relationship. Innocently catching a man’s eye and offering some acknowledgment creates a charge.

11. Want pure invigoration? Jump rope for three minutes. Or just jump in place. “There’s nothing on the planet better than getting up and moving,” says nutrition and metabolism expert Pamela Peeke, MD.

12. Get a half hour—even better, an hour—more sleep and just see what it feels like.

13. Think about any attachments that are depleting your emotional reserves. Are you dwelling on an ex-lover? Stewing over a grudge at work? Consider letting go.

14. Go ahead and grab an energy bar if you don’t have time for a meal. But, Peeke warns, choose one with no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates and two grams of saturated fat (two to six grams of total fat).

15. Write down what your purpose in life is. “You have to be going somewhere to have the energy you need to get there,” says cardiologist Mehmet Oz, MD.

16. On your commute home, don’t read or listen to the news. Pop your favorite rock-out album into your car stereo or portable CD player and amp it up.

17. Take a deep breath—one that feels like it fills your whole body. And let it out all the way. Take another, and one more.

18. Fill a big, beautiful bowl with equal parts water and vinegar, and add sliced cucumbers. Chill it. Throughout the day, refresh yourself with a cucumber nosh.

19. Slip on some strappy heels, a sexy bra. “Arousal,” says sexuality expert Pepper Schwartz, PhD, “is like the energy you feel when you start a race. Your senses are alive, your focus is more intense, you’re more aware of your body.”

20. To override an energy dip, have a slice of avocado or a small handful of nuts—snacks containing healthy fats offer smooth, long-lasting octane.

21. If you’re spread so thin you’re just about threadbare, gaze inward: Are you using frenetic activity to avoid feeling pain? Or to mask some kind of insecurity? And are you willing to address those problems so you can restock your vitality?

22. Call up your most fun, zany friend and get a dose of enthusiasm—it’s contagious. Even better, make plans to do something together.

23. Go out right now and spend some serious, or not so serious, cash on yourself. There’s absolutely no science to it, but shopping has a way of reanimating you when you’ve run out of steam. Could it be a natural high?

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Moderate Exercise Boosts Immunity, But Marathons Could Make You Sick

We’ve all heard that exercise can help stave off illness by offering an immune system boost, but what kind of activity is best? According to one expert who surveyed the research, moderate exercise — things like taking a brisk walk or playing touch football with friends — can reduce our risk of getting colds and flu viruses. But in a case of “less is more,” the same is not true of prolonged, intensive training, like the kind undertaken by marathon runners and elite athletes. Unlike an average workout, a marathon can actually increase the likelihood that an athlete will get sick.

A totally sedentary person is likely to contract a yearly average of two to three upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) — the medical term for viral infections of the ear, nose and throat, like colds, flu and sinus infections. But a moderately active person can expect to reduce that rate by almost a third, according to Mike Gleeson, a professor of exercise biochemistry at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, U.K. By contrast, an elite endurance athlete who completes intensive training can expect two to six times as many URTIs during a year.

But why? Moderate exercise can enhance the activity of Natural Killer cells — a type of white blood cell that targets and immobilizes virally-infected cells. What makes endurance exercise different is its ability to cause a stress response, in which stress hormones like cortisol are released to make the intensive effort more bearable. According to Gleeson, stress hormones inhibit the activity of NK cells.

“In periods following prolonged strenuous exercise, the likelihood of an individual becoming ill actually increases. In the weeks following a marathon, studies have reported a 2-6 fold increase in the risk of developing an upper respiratory infection,” said Gleeson during his presentation to the Association for Science Education (ASE) Conference, where he represented the Society for General Microbiology and the British Society for Immunology. “The heavy training loads of endurance athletes make them more susceptible to URTIs and this is an issue for them as infections can mean missing training sessions or under-performing in competitions.”

Researchers have long known about the connection between intensive exercise and immunosuppression, but it’s a good reminder this month as many of us begin or ramp up our exercise routines as part of our New Year’s resolutions. A moderate approach may be healthiest.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/07/exercise-immunity_n_1190296.html