Fight Fatigue With Proper Nutrition & Exercise

By Laura Dillavou

As your eyelids droop and your head bobs throughout a lecture or tv program or a long day at work, you chalk it up to just being tired. Many times though, this constant feeling of being tired and worn out is a cover up for fatigue. While some may credit it to just being stressed out or having a particularly busy week, fatigue is a condition all too often ignored.

Continual fatigue can possibly lead to a broken down immune system, ineffective workouts, headaches, and most serious, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). (

In some cases, fatigue can be attributed to a lack of proper vitamins and minerals, along with healthy eating choices. Especially important for women, vitamin C and iron are two staple sources for a healthy, energetic body. According to Jere D. Haas, Ph.D, director of nutritional sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., women who took iron supplements could finish their exercise routine 12 times faster and with more energy than those on a placebo. (

People who cut down on their meals throughout the day can also start to feel the effects of a low-calorie diet. Skipping meals, especially key ones, like breakfast, is detrimental to the body, as it takes away valuable energy and nutritional fuel for it to function. The time to cut out food is at night, when the body is less active and requires much less energy.

Besides resting up and sleeping for an entire day, there are a few things one can do to regain bounce and spirit. Start by setting a regular pattern of going to bed, getting up, exercising, and eating around the same time each day. For people over the age of 18, generally around six to seven hours of sleep a night is considered practical and quite functional for a day-to-day basis.

What doesn’t work is skimping on sleep throughout the week and trying to make up for it on the weekend. The body only then tells itself that it needs 10 hours a night, and the process then has no point.

Eating meals balanced in fruits or vegetables, meat, and grain are also essential to providing the body with enough fuel to run throughout the day. If you are on a low-carb or low-calorie diet, there are still options that will keep you energized. Check into low-carb or diet juice, such as V8 Splash, to get a daily dose of vitamins and minerals that way.

Also remember than alcohol will effect the way your body functions, as far as sleep and how it feels the next day. When the blood alcohol level is quite high, regular sleep is not established. Passing out is not the same as a deep sleep, and therefore contributes to the feeling of being extremely tired the next day.

All in all, beating fatigue is nothing more than setting up a regular, balanced schedule for your body. When you are rested and well, the chances of catching a common cold or the flu are lowered, as the immune system is ready to fight off any foreign predators to the body.

Start today by eating right, exercising moderately and sleeping your way to a more healthy, refreshed and energized self.

© 2004 The Simpsonian Online

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