As seasons change and days get shorter, you may be a victim of hidden energy zappers. Discover how to get that daily energy back!
Have you felt like you lost a spring in your step? Do you feel dog-tired before you even get out of bed? It may have something to do with the seasons; as the temperatures get colder and the hours of sunlight shrink, our bodies naturally go into conservation mode. This feeling of fatigue not only affects your Spinning® classes, but it may sabotage other parts of your life too.
So how do we break out of this tiredness trap? Here are some silent saboteurs that can help us solve this low-energy dilemma.
A lack of sunlight causes our brains to release melatonin, which leads to sleepiness. One simple remedy to this is getting as much natural sunlight as possible. Take a walk at lunchtime, open your blinds and absorb some fresh air to get an energy boost during the day.
Low Iron Levels
About 12% of American women and 7% of men have an iron deficiency, which leaves you feeling totally drained and lethargic. In Spinning® classes, the effects can be even worse because you are indoors focusing on your heart rate monitor and literally not "moving." Vegetarians, dieters and athletes, especially bikers and runners are at an increased risk of iron-deficiency. Iron-rich foods such as meat, beans and cereals can keep iron levels high. To maximize absorption into your system, consume them with food that’s high in Vitamin C.
Low Blood Sugar
Food is energy, but we need the right balance. Sugar-infused foods that are common around the holidays can throw off our blood sugar. And if you regularly skip meals – particularly breakfast – your energy stores are going to pay for it dearly. Meals should be well-balanced with the proper amount of carbs, protein and fats, and avoid sugar-rich snacks as much as possible. Take a serious look at your diet, and slowly make lifestyle changes.
A later sunrise or earlier sunset can disrupt our sleep cycles. To account for this change, make a conscious effort to get in bed an hour earlier. But the quality of your sleep can have as much of an impact as the quantity. This may be tough at times because of all of our social obligations around the holiday season, but will make you a much better athlete and a healthier individual. You may want to decline some of those engagements so you can turn down the sheets.
Histamines and other chemicals released by an allergic reaction can make people feel tired. Allergies can also interfere with breathing, which deprives your muscles of oxygen. Consult with your doctor or physician if you find your allergies acting up and your regular medication isn’t doing the trick.
Are you getting enough water? At least 64 fluid ounces a day? Your blood is 80 percent water. If you are dehydrated, it gets really thick and can't move around your body as effectively to efficiently feed your muscles with much needed oxygen. Then your heart has to pump much harder. So drink more water!
Are you doing too much? Have you followed a hard/easy regimen or are you constantly pushing yourself day after day with no plan or goal? Every Spinning® class should follow an intense effort with the appropriate amount of recovery, but sometimes we need to listen to our bodies to see how much weight is on the resistance knob. Keep a journal of your daily workouts. Refer to it often to see if you are following a structured plan. Also, keep track of your heart rate ranges or SPINPower® Zones during your workout to assess when you need to pull back your efforts.
These tips are just the starting point from which you can evaluate your lifestyle and move forward. Best of all, it will bring the fun back into your workout so that you feel like you're "going out to play" again!