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Health Matters: Preventing the after work workout doldrums

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” ~ Robert Burns

It’s 3:00 p.m. and that workout you were planning on doing right after work is quickly losing its lustre. Your energy is waning, you can barely keep your eyes open, and your couch is looking pretty good right about now! If this sounds like you, try implementing the following tips to avoid missing your workout:

1. Move more during the day

Alternate sitting and standing throughout the day. Sitting too much can make you feel tired. Get up off your chair and do some knee lifts, march on the spot, or swing your arms. When your heart rate increases, blood travels through your body at a faster rate, bringing fresh oxygen to your muscles.

2. Fuel up with energizing food

When your energy starts to plummet, so does your willpower. Eating healthy snacks like crunchy fruits or vegetables will give you a boost. At lunch, try to avoid eating foods high protein and saturated fat as they are proven energy zappers. They digest more slowly and can take away oxygen and blood from your muscles. If you don’t know what foods will energize you, keep a journal and note how you feel two hours after eating. It won’t be long before you begin to notice a trend and can head that postprandial dip off at the pass.

3. Breathe

Yes, you read right! Breathe! Take a second and notice how you are breathing right now. More than likely your breath is shallow with your rib cage barely lifting. Now try taking a nice slow, deep breath in through your nose and send it right down to the bottom of your belly; slowly exhale through your mouth. How does that make you feel? Each time you take slow and purposeful breaths, you are deliberately sending more oxygen to your brain and body. The result – a much needed energy boost.

4. Just do it!

Sometimes you just have to dig deep and fight off the urge to go home. It helps if you head to the gym immediately after you finish work. If you go home first, odds are that’s where you’ll stay. It also helps to visualize how you are going to feel after you've finished your workout. If all else fails, tell yourself you’ll only exercise for 10 minutes. Chances are those 10 minutes will turn into 20 or 30. Even if it is just 10 minutes, you can pat yourself on the back and feel good knowing that you did something healthy for yourself.