29 Mar 2018


Energy levels can become depleted, and so need to be managed carefully and allowed sufficient time to recover. Research tells us that this is especially important as we age, as our natural capacity for energy production decreases.

We know that when we’re focused on a challenging task we can sustain our energy by taking short recovery breaks (Jim Loehr in The Corporate Athlete suggests 5-15 minutes every 90 minutes) and that the fitter we are, physically and emotionally, the shorter the time interval needed to recover from and then sustain energy output. But how else can we boost our energy supplies?

SLEEP is just as important as exercise when managing energy, recent research suggests. Simple ways to improve the quality of your sleep include going to bed early and waking up early, and getting up at the same time every day to help orientate the body’s energy clock.

MOVEMENT throughout the day is vital, because it facilitates oxygen transport to the cells. Don’t sit for long periods of time without taking a break to move and stretch the large muscle groups. This is in addition to any planned exercise programme.

GLUCOSE intake also has a cycle that affects energy production. Its breakdown promotes oxygen use and energy release, so refuel every three or four hours of your waking day. Nutritional habits that help stabilise blood glucose include eating light and often, taking breakfast every day (it boosts energy production), consuming low glycaemic foods (promoting the slow and sustained release of energy) and eating until you’re satisfied rather than full.

DRINK WATER every 30-60 minutes, as effective cell function relies heavily on being well hydrated. Even mild hydration can compromise brain function by 20 per cent or more.

PHYSICAL EXERCISE has a major effect on energy production and a minimum of two weekly cardiovascular interval workouts are required to maintain full cardiovascular energy output. Two shorter (15-20 minutes) strength training sessions per week are also recommended in order to maintain optimal muscle capacity and bone density, supporting energy production as we age.

MAKING A MISSION STATEMENT for your wellbeing and energy is a great way to add direction and purpose to your efforts, especially during tough times. Make a clear and concise statement, backed up by a list of six realistic goals that you wish to achieve in terms of your health and fitness.

ENERGY CHARGERS, or people who energise you, are great to have around. They don’t have to always agree with you, but they have positive attitudes and will work with you towards common goals. Energy sappers, meanwhile, tend to have a “can’t do” attitude. Leaders with great energy are often surrounded by energy chargers and, as a result, are grounded in truth, are purpose driven and inspire hope and action in those they are leading.