Instant energy fixes

Good Health Magazine
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Image: Think Stock
Dealing with day-to-day pressures can leave you feeling sapped of energy. So we contacted those in the know for their tips and tricks to getting that extra boost and, more importantly, keeping it.

To kick-start your day with zest: Make time for breakfast
"If you start with a good breakfast, it'll be easier to stay on track with your healthy eating plan and you'll make better food choices throughout the day," says accredited practising dietitian Georgina Moore. Stay away from foods with a high glycaemic index (GI) like cornflakes and white bread as these will give you a surge of energy but it won't last long. Instead, aim for a mix of low-GI carbohydrate and protein to keep you fuller for longer. "Wheat biscuits with low-fat or skim milk, and multigrain bread with a smear of jam and low-fat ricotta is a great breakfast option for longer lasting energy," says Moore.

To have enough zing on a Monday morning: Fake it
It’s Monday morning and you've just hit snooze. Again. To get a jolt of energy to face the day, fake it. "Ask any runner and they'll say the hardest part of a run is putting on and lacing up their shoes," says clinical psychologist Dr Gary Banks. "But once they're on and they're out the door it's done. This is what we call cognitive dissonance – we're handling two competing sets of information. We make ourselves do one thing while thinking about the other." Put on a smile and put extra effort into getting ready for the day, your body will catch on in minutes.

To turn your bad mood into energy: Think positive
If a bad day has crushed your good mood, you may find yourself feeling tired. "One of the key elements of poor or low mood is a decrease in energy which leads to lethargy and apathy," says Banks. Turn it around by visualising your goals and your body will respond to the positive energy. "Elite athletes think themselves into a race, they visualise and use imagery to create the race conditions inside their head to raise their own arousal levels," says Banks. "Athletes can change their heart rates by up to 20 beats a minute just by sitting and thinking about it."

To power through your to-do list: Mix up your daily routine
When you shake up your regular routine, the brain's levels of serotonin, adrenaline and dopamine change, resulting in a 'brain boost'. Your brain will be more alert and that can affect your energy levels. "The brain goes into an almost trance-like state if you do the same things over and over again," says neurosurgeon Dr Raoul Pope. "Doing something new, even if you take a different route home, can expose you to different sights and sounds which can cause activity in the brain that can enhance your lifestyle." Tip: try doing a brain game like Sudoku on the train to work, you’ll feel more disciplined, physically better and motivated to conquer your goals.

Good Health magazine For this and much more, pick up the March issue of Good Health magazine. Get a great subscription deal on Good Health magazine at

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