With our fast-paced lifestyles, a lack of energy is a frequent complaint of many women. Related symptoms include lethargy, poor concentration, moodiness, fatigue, and exhaustion. Sound familiar?
Two major factors that contribute to depleted energy reserves are inactivity and inadequate nutrition. Balanced physical exercise plays a vital role in optimizing energy. An ideal exercise program includes activities that foster stamina (e.g., walking, running, or rebounding), strength (isometric exercises or weights), and suppleness (stretching or yoga). All too often, women choose only one of the three and thus lack balance in their fitness.
A key way the body produces energy is when carbohydrate foods react with oxygen from the air we breathe. Thus, oxygen is one of the most vital nutrients and energy boosters!
Women in particular tend to breathe shallow from the chest (perhaps from years of holding their bellies in). A great way to start the day is to practice deep breathing with exercise or meditation. The key is to first exhale completely and then simply allow the breath to fill the belly first. Deep breathing will not only energize your body, it will clear your mind.
The nutrients in the food we eat are equally important because our bodies use them to repair, build, and heal tissue. The most energy-promoting nutrients are found primarily in whole, fresh plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts, legumes and whole grains. Animal based-foods lack fiber and require a considerable amount of bodily energy to digest, thus depleting energy reserves.
The abundance of minerals and trace elements found in the ocean make sea vegetables particularly valuable for women. Many women have fatigue issues related to thyroid problems, which are often linked to iodine deficiency. Sea vegetable such as dulse, kelp, arame, nori, wakame, kombu, or hiziki should be used each day. Dulse and kelp are available in powder form and make an excellent seasoning with a slightly salty taste.
Sample daily high-energy plan
Before breakfast: Practice deep breathing for 10-15 minutes via walking, sitting, meditation, yoga, tai chi, or qigong.
Breakfast: A bowl of slow-cooked oatmeal with a banana and almond milk.
Mid-morning snack: A small handful of almonds, walnuts or seeds.
Lunch: A large raw vegetable salad and lentil soup seasoned with kelp.
Mid-afternoon snack: An organic apple or half a cup of berries
Before dinner: Exercise for 20-40 minutes, alternating strength and stamina, followed by 5-10 minutes of stretching.
Dinner: A large serving of raw or lightly cooked vegetables along with beans, legumes, fish, or lean meat.