By: Sheryl Kraft
It’s the end of a busy day, and you’re eyeing the nearest sofa to sink into and veg out. But here’s some advice: Resist the urge to sit for too long.
Prolonged sitting -- even if you exercise -- is bad for your health, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found. Researchers discovered that mortality risks are higher for people who sit between 8 and 11 hours compared to those sitting fewer than 4 hours per day. Why? What it comes down to is that unhealthy metabolic changes are triggered by the lack of movement. And chances are you sit more than you realize, between commuting, working at a desk and leisure time.
So if your energy is lagging, resist the urge to sit whatever it takes. Instead, try these quick ways to reset your energy button.
1. Eat right.
For a quick energy boost that lasts, try almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, whole grains and fish (particularly halibut). They all contain magnesium, the mineral that breaks down glucose into energy. To keep your energy from plunging again, maintain your blood sugar throughout the day by eating small, healthful snacks every few hours -- a handful of trail mix, low-fat cheese with whole-grain crackers or fresh fruit.
2. Drink up.
If you’re feeling sluggish, thirst might be to blame. The best way to remedy this is with a tall glass of water. Not a fan of plain water? Float some fresh berries, orange or cucumber slices to give it more zing.
Relaxing to boost energy might sound counter-intuitive, but a time-out often gives your body a chance to let go of stress, a sure energy zapper. Listen to soft music, meditate, do some yoga or stretching. And while you’re at it, take deep breaths: You’ll bring more oxygen into your cells, slow your heart rate, increase your circulation and lower your blood pressure, which are all worthy contributors to restoring your energy.
4. Move more.
Moving gets your circulation going -- and in turn, sends oxygen and nutrients to fuel your cells, giving your brain and muscles more power. Instead of taking a phone call sitting down, get up and pace while you talk. Have a desk job? Set a reminder to get up once each hour to move your legs, shrug your shoulders, reach down and touch your toes.
5. Practice good posture.
Sitting up straight opens up the chest cavity, significantly increasing your oxygen intake. One guaranteed way to keep a straight back is to trade in your chair for an exercise ball, which not only encourages you to sit taller but helps engage your abdominal muscles at the same time (flatter abs -- an added bonus!).
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Sheryl Kraft is Completely You’s “News You Can Use” blogger. She is a health, wellness and fitness writer whose articles have appeared in AARP, Prevention, Woman’s Day, iVillage, YahooShine! and more. Read more of Sheryl’s work on her blog, My So-called Midlife, and HealthyWomen.org’s Midlife Matters.
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