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Fight the post-holiday energy crisis

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A few weeks ago, when the holiday season was under way, you were feeling energized and pepped up, looking forward to all the festivities and celebrations.

But now, as you begin the countdown to 2012, all that vim and vigor might have given way to sluggishness and exhaustion.

Does this sound like you? If so, you are not alone. “The period between Thanksgiving and the New Year is always hectic,” says Donnie Middleton, a personal trainer at Precision Personal Training in Flower Mound. “We overschedule and overextend ourselves, so it’s no wonder that we may feel totally wiped out by the time January rolls in.”

To make matters worse, we often eat badly and don’t exercise as regularly as we should, all of which can lead to that “weak and weary” feeling, Middleton says.

“If you are like most people, you probably overindulged in heavy fats and refined sugars, which is a typical fare at holiday parties. It takes a great deal of energy to digest a large and heavy meal. It’s no secret that eating this kind of food and not getting enough healthy nutrients will sap your energy,” he points out.

Not only that, but when you are tired, your immune system is weakened and more receptive to all kinds of ailments, such as cold and flu viruses, and even depression.

When you feel like this, the last thing you probably want to do is exercise, but that’s exactly what you should be doing – no matter how “worn out” you are.

There is plenty of evidence indicating that physical activity is one of the best remedies to combat the after-holiday crash. One study, conducted a few years ago by the researchers at Georgia University, has revealed that even low-intensity workouts can reduce fatigue by 65 percent and boost energy levels up to 20 percent.

To pack the most fatigue-busting benefits into your workout, Middleton suggests choosing vigorous and brisk activities that will make your heart work harder than it does when you are inactive.

“While you work out, your heartbeat increases and more oxygen-rich blood flows through the brain,” Middleton explains. “As a result, you feel more energetic and invigorated. It’s really quite simple.”

So if post- holiday “blahs” make you listless “a sweat session may be just what you need to recharge your batteries and rev up your engine for the New Year,” Middleton says.

 

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