Many of us feel an extra boost of energy in the summer. We spend more time outside, soaking up the sun and getting fresh air. Many folks play more sports, go camping or boating, and BBQ in the backyard. We often have more leisure time to explore the things we love doing.
All of this sun, fresh air, and activity can improve our physical and mental energy.
As we head back to work and kids head back to school, how can we maintain this energy? With increased demands on our time, how can we optimize our physical and mental performance?
Utilizing preventative strategies, we can support a few main systems in the body that help to keep our energy stable and consistent throughout the day and days.
Breakfast is the place to begin. As is true for many of us in Canada, breakfast contains primarily carbohydrates. Breads, bagels, cereals and the like are all high in carbs which can wreak havoc on our energy. This is because carbs are easily absorbed causing both a spike in our blood sugar and our energy but a resulting crash afterwards. This leads to grabbing a mid-morning snack or extra coffee to keep our energy up. The key is to balance breakfast carbohydrates with healthy protein and fats. This helps to delay the absorption of sugar in to our blood resulting in a steady energy increase over time.
Throughout the day, managing stress is the key to consistent energy and a sharp mind. Many of the folks I see have increased levels of stress on a day-to-day basis. Over time, the consistent and prolonged elevation in our cortisol levels (our stress hormone) can lead to difficulty concentrating, irritability, energy crashes, and impaired sleep. Elevated cortisol further imbalances our blood sugar causing us to reach for that afternoon doughnut and coffee. And the cycle continues.
As a naturopathic doctor, managing stress is key to optimizing physical and mental performance. The secret to success is offering a treatment that is individualized to each person. That may include promoting stress-reduction techniques like meditation and a walk in the park or using specific herbal medicines and supplements. The key is that each person is different and requires an individualized approach.
Testing cortisol levels and ordering other lab tests can help me determine if stress is impacting one’s sleep. Promoting a restful sleep, improving insomnia, and reducing elevated nighttime cortisol levels can all improve energy the next day and keep you performing at your best.
As a naturopathic doctor, many of the folks I see have concerns of fatigue, disturbed sleep, and increased stress. These three factors are often linked together and can lead to a reduction in physical and mental performance. Improvement in all of these areas together is key to success.
Contact Dr. Peters for a free “meet the doctor” visit to see if naturopathic medicine is right for you.
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