Four simple ways to Fight Fatigue
Do you ever have those days you wake up tired, or feel like you’re on autopilot for most of it? Sometimes coffee does the trick but what if it’s just not working, or it simply isn’t your drink of choice? Don’t worry you’re not alone in this area, as fatigue is a common complaint we hear from clients all the time (not that I’ve ever complained about being tired) or from anyone over the age of eight! (where do kids get their energy from? And don’t say sugar!).
We’ve tried a lot of things at Le Physique, and while sometimes even the best, most energized personal trainers crave a coffee once in a while, we still have some great tricks up our sleeves that we’re going to share with you. Ready?
Fatigue Fighter 1 – Move
Although it may be tough to motivate yourself to get exercising when you are fatigued, evidence shows an increase in energy level after performing physical activity. You might have even noticed this yourself, when you’re in a consistent workout routine, or in that colleague that never seems to run out of energy and also runs 100 miles a day.
According to the director of clinical and research exercise physiology at Johns Hopkins, Kerry J. Stewart, exercise has shown to improve overall quality of life as well as increase confidence levels. So, think of it as an extra bonus – I can never tell if confidence precedes energy levels or vice versa, but I always see an increase in both of these in clients that stick to their workouts.
If you’re sitting (or standing) at your desk and feeling fatigued, you’re probably thinking “that’s great, I see that exercise helps with energy but I’m tired NOW, how do you fix that?” The great news is it’s simple! To combat mid-day fatigue, just start moving. It can be as simple as:
- Taking a couple flights of stairs
- Doing a few bodyweight squats or pushups, lunges…
- performing a few invigorating yoga moves (here are a couple of our favourite yoga poses)
- walking around the block and getting fresh air
Anything to increase blood flow and give yourself a boost.
So when you finish reading this blog, (don’t fall a sleep yet), I expect you to go for a brisk walk and get your blood pumping.
Fatigue Fighter 2 – Drink Water
I hate to go all “mom” on you and remind you of things you already know, but just in case, sugary drinks like juice, soda or sweet lattes should not be your main “pick me up” when you are feeling tired.
Drinks that are high in sugar can cause dehydration, and you guessed it, dehydration can cause fatigue (as well as moodiness in some individuals, so ask yourself how you’re feeling emotionally, too). Studies also show that dehydration negatively impacts alertness and concentration, so if you find yourself re-reading the same sentence over again, and if you find yourself re-reading the same sentence over again (see what I did there?), reach for a good ol’ glass of H2O and help yourself focus and wake up! If possible, aim to stay hydrated as often as possible by keeping water close to your workspace and setting small reminders to drink water more often.
Fatigue Fighter 3- Get Sleep
In a study (2004) conducted on Stanford University, students who had more sleep reported less fatigue and higher energy – SHOCKING!
I don’t think I need to convince you that sleep is good for you (but just in case, here is a link to learn more on why and how), but if you work from home, or work somewhere they have a nap-room / quiet space you can sneak off to, as little as 10 minutes of undisturbed rest can work wonders (I have caught Amelia and Gillian recharging their human batteries in the back room on long days). Short naps can restore wakefulness, boost energy and typically results in increased performance. Worried about actually falling asleep on the job? Did you know that even being in a quiet space with your eyes closed can help? Go ahead, sneak off and close your eyes for a bit. You’ll be more awake and productive when you come back. Just don’t let your nap extend beyond 20 minutes or you might feel extra groggy – don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Fatigue Fighter 4- Eat Food
Truth be told, that I was experiencing some fatigue that followed me around town for weeks and I finally saw a holistic nutritionist for some answers. Sharon Pendlington, of Personal Nutrition sat me down and very kindly said:
“Your problem is simple. Eat. More. Food.”
Because of my early mornings, late nights and long days at work, I would sometimes miss a meal completely (breakfast? lunch?) though I would still make it through the day. I had learned to suppress hunger feelings because training a client while eating isn’t always, shall we say…convenient (or professional for that matter). I always had an excuse to eat “soon” or “in a minute” and eventually missed the meal altogether. Heeding Sharon’s advice, I started breaking my lunches down into part 1 (to be consumed now) and part 2 (to be consumed later) and woke up an extra 10 minutes earlier to ensure I had breakfast.
The result? ENERGY – and I feel amazing!
If you find yourself in this situation it may be beneficial to eat 5-6 smaller meals versus 2 or 3 large meals. This strategy provides your body a more consistent supply of blood sugar levels. For each of your mini meals or snacks, try to combine a variety of foods, including complex carbohydrates to avoid sugar spikes. For some great snacking ideas, click here.
So there you have it, super simple, and while you NOW have permission to head to your afternoon nap (because you’ve finished reading the blog) try some of these fatigue destroying tricks now and get energized!