The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Increasing energy

"Steve, what advice do you give to thin people who have problems with their knees, backs, and/or energy level?"

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First, be certain that there are no medical problems that need to be addressed. This is vital. Assuming you have a clean bill of health, then I would suggest yoga for the joints and back. Something slow and gentle, leading you to real kinethetic awareness, working the body through all basic flexions and twists. This nourishes the connective tissues, as well as helping you understand how your body really works. Glucosamine and Chondroitin and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) supplements are highly thought of in many quarters, and I take them myself.

Energy is one of my favorite subjects. I address energy from four different directions: if you have these handled, you should make a good impact on your energy level.

1) Exercise. Both progressive resistance exercise to provide a positive balance between muscles, fat, and skeletal structure. Postural correction so that your body is carrying its weight on the skeletal structure, rather than exerting muscular tension. Proper breathing to allow enough air for proper CO2/Oxygen balance. And aerobic exercise. Walking is terrific for this. The aerobic zone is the place where "you can talk, but you can't sing." A light sweat for 20 minutes three times a week is a miracle for boosting energy.

2) Diet. In general: 3 parts fresh fruit and vegetables to 2 parts lean proteins to 1 part complex carbohydrates, with VERY little processed sugar or fats. Again, speak to your medical provider for specific assistance to your case. I have found Intermittent Fasting to be terrific for energy, but opinions vary.

3) Rest. If you aren't getting eight hours a night sleep, look no further for your energy drain. There are people who thrive on 5 hours or less...I ain't one of 'em. Make sure that your sleep time is restorative and deep. Is your sleep space peaceful? Doe it smell good? Do you take emotional stress with you to bed? Any problems here can trash your energy.

4) Clear goals and plans. In other words, you need to have SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE ENERGY once you have it. Something that will make your life better, that is in alignment with your values and beliefs. I know people who are afraid to have more energy, because they believe their families or bosses will just demand more of them: in other words, there is a pay-off for being tired. Be very certain that you are cool with having a geyser of energy at your fingertips.

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Anyone out there have questions, or comments, or suggestions?

2 comments:

Chavo said...

Steve-

I'm agreed overall, but some folks really need more fats, especially if they are vegetarians or don't eat beef and pork. Diet is number one. Sleep is number two. I'm a recent yoga convert and since the issue is both energy and knee/back...yoga is a very good bet. Check your shoes, or have your shoes checked by a professional, more likely. Go barefoot more often. Back and knee issues often start with feet and ankles. Posture is obviously huge, and yoga can help. Only you can know what your issues are. I'd dump all gluten (no wheat!) first as any diet change, just to see what happens. Many people have a serious inflamatory reaction to wheat and grain products. Add fish oil into your diet.

I like this blog for good reading- I eat pretty much like this anyway, and think he is spot on nutritionally.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/

Espeically if all else is equal, and you/they are close-to-vegetarians....fish oil, yoga, start moving away from grains.

suzanne said...

tai chi
is a wonder worker
for joint
aches and pains

and yes
the diet needs to be examined
for possible allergic
inflammatory responses