Spring is coming, but perhaps not quickly enough. The weather is still wintry and the days are still short. This time of year it’s easy to feel a bit flat, but there are plenty of ways you can keep your energy up for your pole fitness lessons (and for life in general) – without reaching for something sugary or another cup of coffee.
Whether you want a quick fix just before class or some more sustainable ideas to keep yourself on the go all day, here are 10 healthy ways to get a buzz when you need it.
1. Eat the right food at the right time
If you’re feeling down, it could be due to low blood sugar levels. A nutritious breakfast will help – complex carbohydrates (found in whole grains and starchy vegetables) will get you off to a good start, and you adding protein will make you feel fuller for longer. During the day, eat regularly to stop energy levels dipping: snacks like nuts, seeds and avocado will boost your energy levels, but anything that’s rich in protein or healthy fats will work.
2. Get better quality sleep
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep to feel their best, but more often than not, it’s more about the quality of your sleep than the hours you spend dozing. If you’re waking up a lot in the night, you won’t be properly rested and it will affect how you feel during the day. Try and find ways to get a better night’s sleep: turn off ‘phones and computers earlier in the evening, reduce your water intake before you sleep, and take a look at your mattress and pillows to see if they’re causing any problems.
Getting some exercise can really shake up your day. Your warmup for your pole
fitness lesson should be enough to get you in the swing of things (and by the end of the class, you’ll be feeling great), but if you need a pick me up before, try a few stretches or something as simple as shaking your arms and legs around to energise you.
4. Go outside
Some studies have shown that 20 minutes is the magic time frame, but even a ten minute walk can re-energise you if you’re feeling low: especially if you spend a lot of time during the day sitting down at a desk. Scheduling walks in your day also encourage you to take breaks, and a little downtime is always a good thing. Whatever the weather, find somewhere green to explore and you’ll feel instantly refreshed.
5. Check the thermostat
Too warm or too cold? Either extreme can make you feel sluggish. It’s easy to loose track of how temperature is affecting you, especially if you’re concentrating hard on something, but sitting too still or standing right beside a heater can be really draining. Check in on yourself and adjust clothes and radiators accordingly: you’ll perk up really quickly.
6. Get upside down
Being upside down is a great way to boost your energy levels. You should get plenty of practice during your pole fitness lesson, but if you don’t have a pole available, try and headstand or handstand, or just put your feet up a wall to get the blood travelling towards your brain. Changing the flow of gravity is an easy and quick fix, getting fresh blood to your organs and helping your circulation.
7. Do something interesting
If you’re feeling low on energy, the worst thing you can do is work on something that you find dull or difficult. You’ll find it hard to concentrate and it will be even more tricky to get yourself out of that rut. If you’re in your pole fitness lesson, ask to try and new move, combination or put together a routine – whatever inspires you. As long as you’re doing something that you find fun, you’ll soon be in the zone, even if you don’t start the class feeling your best.
8. Play on your senses
Did you know a smell could be a powerful energy enhancer? Peppermint, lime and lemon essential oils are proven stimulants and having just a sniff of these can be enough for an instant mood boost. No oils around? Cut open a fresh lemon or other citrus fruit and breathe it in, or try eating a mint or chew mint flavoured gum – some mints do use essential oils in their ingredients, so look out for those.
9. Have a giggle
Laughter is the best cure for low mood and for low energy. There’s nothing better for quickly reducing your stress levels, getting your blood pumping and putting you in the right frame of mind for a really productive day. Treat yourself to a good giggle as often as you can to keep your energy flowing – if you’re in the studio, these two loons are often good for entertainment.
10. Massage your ears
Get your energy flowing by giving yourself an ear massage. I can’t say I know a tried and tested technique that works for everyone, but it does seem that for most people, rubbing around the outside of the ears and the earlobes can refresh and energise your body. Science suggests massaging the ears can release endorphins (natural happy-making chemicals), which could be the reason: whatever it is, it works!
Next time you need more energy, give some of these a try and let me know what helped you the most.