Windber Medical Center

WIN 2014

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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Pacing yourself is important, especially if you aren't used to exercising, because you don't want to injure yourself or decide that a vigorous workout isn't pleasurable and drop it, according to Petruzzello. If you can't exercise for 30 minutes at a time five days a week, try three 10-minute intervals during the day, says Crandall, who is also a certified group fitness instructor. In addition to benefiting your physical health and energy levels, exercising more can also improve your ability to deal with stress, which is linked to fatigue. "Exercise is a powerful mood regulator. It seems to work as well in the short run as eating a candy bar," says Petruzzello. EATING FOR ENERGY Nutritious food also helps you overcome fatigue, because both what you eat and how much you eat affect your energy levels. While a candy bar might pick you up, rushing sugar through the bloodstream, it's a short-term, highly caloric solution. Instead, choose nutritionally rich foods, starting with protein, which can be a problem for women. "I see females who aren't getting good protein sources. They're just going for carbs," says Crandall. If you have a protein shortfall because you can't fit cooking into your schedule, stock up on high-protein foods such as reduced-sodium deli chicken or turkey, cheese sticks, canned beans and almonds that don't require preparation. You do need carbohydrates too, but not a heaping bowl of spaghetti at lunch, which causes your body to produce more serotonin. "That's good for sleep, but not energy," says David W. Grotto, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of "The Best Things You Can Eat" (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2013). Instead, Crandall recommends pairing protein with carbohydrates for longer-lasting energy in snacks such as an apple and a cheese stick, or wholewheat bread with tuna. " KEEP A HEALTHY WEIGHT Being overweight can also contribute to fatigue, according to the experts. "I'm seeing more women who are overweight than underweight experiencing fatigue," says Grotto. Excess weight can also lead to developing sleep apnea, which in turn could exacerbate fatigue, he says. And of course, physical activities can be more taxing when your body is too heavy. "Every step, every stair can be fatiguing," says Crandall. "Try to get to a normal weight. It can really increase energy levels." • 6 ways to conquer fatigue 1. Build exercise into your routine at least three days a week. 2. Eat a moderate amount of food at each meal, rather than stufng yourself. 3. Don't skip meals. 4. Stay hydrated. 5. Make sure you're getting enough iron, especially if you're still menstruating. 6. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise is a powerful mood regulator. It seems to work as well in the short run as eating a candy bar. SHUTTERSTOCK " ~ Steven J. Petruzzello, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m W I N T E R 2 014 SPI RIT O F WOM EN 23

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