As the days draw in and the temperatures drop, it’s difficult to keep motivation high – many of us fall victim to the desire to stay in bed longer! So to get you on the right track, we called on nutritionist Helen Bond of The Harley Street Medical Group, to share her top tips for keeping your energy levels up this winter…
1. Eat regularly
With Christmas now on the horizon, fatty, high-calorie foods are more readily available than any other time of year. But while it’s tempting to tuck into that sugary treat, it simply causes a blood sugar spike which results in a drop off in energy and alertnes. Instead, stick to regular, healthy meals and snacks – this will stabilise your blood sugar.
2. Balance your plate
But what, exactly, constitutes a ‘healthy meal’? Your ideal plate will be a good balance of wholegrain carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. This combination helps to slow down the absorption and release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, allowing for sustained energy levels, advises nutrition expert Helen.
3. Don’t skip breakfast
Many of us skip breakfast for a coffee, but that could be where you’re going wrong – a healthy breakfast replenishes energy levels after a long period without food, providing fuel and essential nutrients to help both the body and brain function more effectively throughout the day.
4. Cut back on caffeine
While coffee and tea have their place as a natural stimulant – there’s evidence that they can assist mental and physical performance – if you are feeling wired yet tired, these drinks may be having a negative effect on your energy levels. Opt for different drinks to hydrate yourself.
5. Take a break from alcohol
Alcohol can impact the quality of your sleep, dehydrating your body and depleting it of energy. Try to cut down on your alcohol intake, especially during the evening, and stick to the recommended limits of no more than 14 units a week. It’s likely that you’ll feel tired, even after a good night’s sleep, if you’ve consumed lots of alcohol the night before.
6. Avoid dehydration
Thirst can actually disguise itself as fatigue and zap your energy levels – even slight dehydration can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help with this – if you’re not a fan of the taste of water, you can invest in a fruit-infuser water bottle and add cucumber, lemon and ginger.
7. Get moving
An active lifestyle can improve your energy levels by burning excess calories, increasing blood flow round your body and oxygenating all of your tissues. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five or more days a week. It also boosts your endorphin levels, which leads to a lift in your mood.