Natural winter energy boosters

By Siski Green, Wednesday 28 November 2012

Humans may not hibernate like hedgehogs in winter but our bodies do slow down a little – try these top tips to rev things up a little
Winter walkingTaking a ten-minute brisk walk can increase the amount of energy you have

Fewer daylight hours, cold weather and a higher risk of colds means that you might feel your energy is at an all-time low. And a survey from the manufacturers of 9bar (a snack bar), shows that lack of energy can have a far-reaching impact on your life – 44% of survey respondents said they often felt too sleepy to socialise.

So rather than missing out on all the festivities this season, use these natural methods to remain alert all day:

Snack on seeds. Have you ever seen a bird taking a nap? Probably not and that's because their diet is full of energy-boosting seeds. Essential fatty acids in seeds and nuts help increase energy production. Find out what health benefits different seeds have.

Eat oatcakes. A slice of cheese on an oatcake or wholegrain bread will keep you going far longer than a chocolate bar. The reason being that protein (in the cheese) mixed with complex carbs (in the oatcake) helps give you sustained energy release, whereas chocolate makes your energy levels spike then fall.

Take a hike. It might seem counterintuitive to do something that requires energy but according to a study from California State University, US, taking a ten-minute brisk walk made people feel more energetic than eating a chocolate bar. It's probably down to getting more oxygen pumping around your body, helping you feel more alert. Find a woodland walk near you.

Turn on the radio. According to a study from Brunel University listening to up-tempo music (think classical Mozart, do-wop or for something more modern, Miley Cyrus or the Libertines) helps reduce fatigue.

Nap in the morning. Just 15-20 minutes is enough to recharge your energy and by doing it in the late morning you avoid getting over-tired and falling asleep for longer in the afternoon. Have a cup of coffee just before you shut your eyes, too. It'll take around 30 minutes for the caffeine to kick in - so when you wake up, you'll feel more alert instead of groggy.

Take a sniff. Remember smelling salts? Well, they're making a comeback as an instant pick-me-up. You can buy them at a chemist.

Shine some light. A light box can help boost your energy as it tricks the body into feeling as though it's not winter – a study from Harvard Medical School, US, found that 45 minutes each day was ideal. But if you don't want to invest in one, at least add some light to your home in the form of colour. Paint your walls light colours and include some yellow to replicate a feeling of sunshine.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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