Four Simple Energy Boosters

Feeling drained? Find the pep you long for -- and improve your diabetes control -- by focusing on these four steps.

Need an energy boost to get you out of a slump? We've assembled some helpful tips and tricks for putting a spring back in your step.

Eat to Fuel Your Body

Food is your greatest source of energy. "Skipping meals can make you hungrier at the next meal, when you'll be vulnerable to overeating," says Ann Fittante, R.D., CDE, a nutrition educator at the Joslin Diabetes Center at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.

Skipping a meal will cause your energy level to drop. Eating too much food later will put you at risk for high blood glucose, which can make you feel tired or sluggish. So resist the urge to skip a meal, no matter how pressed you are for time.

Step it Up

Physical activity is energizing. "Even a short five-minute stroll can help, but aim to get 30 minutes a day," says Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D. "Faster is better. Research shows that higher-intensity exercise is more conducive to the release of endorphins that make you feel good."

Get Some Shut-Eye

Diabetes can make you feel more tired than is normal. "An extra half hour on top of the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep can often give you the energy boost you need," says Helene Emsellem, M.D., director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

If you take medications for diabetic neuropathy pain, talk to your doctor about timing dosages so you don't experience pain at bedtime. If you suffer from restless legs syndrome (more common among people with diabetes), ask your doctor about possible treatments.

Balance Social and Solo Time

"Social interactions of any kind -- be it a coffee break or a night out with the boys or girls -- are not only fun but uplifting, too," says Liz Bello, R.D., L.D., CDE, of Diabetes America. "Even a phone call to a friend can give you a quick energy boost."

For those days you crave some quiet, consider taking a yoga class or practicing meditation. "These restorative exercises can help you live more in the moment, which in turn can relieve energy-sapping stress and improve your mood," Bello says.

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