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Simple steps for boosting energy

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 12:04 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 12:04 p.m. CDT

Some days do you feel like the Energizer Bunny with a weak battery? There are several ways to help boost flagging energy, like pacing activities, taking power naps and eating healthfully, according to a recent issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch. One thing that doesn’t work: Taking overhyped dietary supplements.

Sometimes fatigue is due to a medical condition. If that’s been ruled out, here are a few basic steps to maintain energy throughout the day:

Set a steady pace: With age, the energy “battery” may not be able to store quite the charge it used to. “It’s fully charged, but it’s smaller and you have fewer hours of energy in it,” says Dr. Fabiny, chief of geriatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “If you try to do all the things you did in the past, you could end up feeling tired.” Instead of burning through the battery in two hours, spread it out between morning tasks, afternoon tasks and evening activities — with rest and meals between.

Take a walk: When daytime fatigue stems from chronic sleeplessness (insomnia), napping can make it worse. Instead of napping, get up and take a walk. For people who sleep well at night, a 20- to 30-minute power nap may work wonders.

Fuel up: Sugary bakery treats deliver plenty of calories to rev up energy in the morning, but the body tends to metabolize them quickly. The result is often a sinking blood sugar level and fatigue. Instead, eat a breakfast or lunch with protein and fiber and moderate carbs — like low-fat yogurt with a sprinkling of nuts, raisins, and honey. And don’t skip meals: Your body needs a certain number of calories to get through the work of the day.

Skip the supplements: Don’t believe claims the widely-hyped supplement known as DHEA is an anti-aging supplement. “There is absolutely no evidence that DHEA provides any benefit,” Fabiny says. Taking extra B vitamins doesn’t boost energy either. The same can be said for iron supplements. Get your vitamins, minerals and other nutrients the old fashioned way — in food.

Source: Harvard Men’s Health Watch.

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