Physical energy and its link to building resilience

Resilience is an interesting concept; it’s important to maintain strong mental and physical health so you can bounce back from adversity; but it’s also about building your capacity to adapt to change.

Resilience isn't a personality trait – it's something that we can all take steps to achieve. In line with the idea of the Corporate Athlete model, resilience is linked to your physical energy. Effective energy management is about finding the balance of rhythmic movement - between energy expenditure (stress) and energy renewal (recovery).

Our challenge is that we are very adept at expending energy and not so great at the recovery part. So, in this article we focus on some easy ways to help you maintain your day to day energy levels.

Sugar, friend or foe?

Sugar equals energy - but did you know that the that your daily intake of sugar, as recommended by the NHS, shouldn’t exceed 30g per day. Some popular brands of drinks have double this daily limit in just one serving! A large serving of sugar can leave you feeling drained shortly after consuming, which can dramatically affect your resilience.

One way to ensure you don't exceed your daily limit, or consume something with a high level of sugar and avoid a sugar spike, is to check the food and drink labels of the products you are buying - this can help you select foods with the least amount of sugar (5g or less total sugars per 100g is considered low).

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Keep moving

Being physically active is vital for both good health and building resilience. Ideally, we should look to complete either 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week. And even now there is plenty of exercise you can do without a gym or leisure centre to go to. Walking, cycling, housework or gardening are all great forms of moderate activity; while stair climbing, kettle bell exercises and heavy gardening (digging and planting) are all classed as vigorous forms of activity. 

And while there is often a misconception that there isn’t much point in exercising if it’s just for a short amount of time, in reality, if that’s all you have then it’s about selecting the most efficient form of exercise. It’s a good idea to complete compound or multi-joint exercises, (these are exercises that targets numerous parts of the body at once - an upper body row, press, deadlifts, lunges and swings are all great examples), instead of smaller isolation (single joint exercises). Compound exercises are designed to increase in strength, fitness and metabolise more energy during the session.

It doesn’t matter what time of day you decide to get physical or how long you have to do it, what matters is taking the time at some point during your day to be active – it’s a fantastic way to maintain strong mental focus and boost your energy levels.

Know when to ease off

Most of the time, being active is a great way of building resilience and reducing stress, but there will be times when it will be more of a hindrance than a help. For example, chronic stress (whether in life or at work) without any respite can deplete your energy reserves – it’s at this point you should consider taking a break from physical exercise, it’s just something else to think about. So, review your schedule, or if you are feeling more pressure than usual, ease off and perhaps undertake a more moderate form of exercise, or, simply take the day off. 

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We're here to help

If you'd like more information about how RPS can support you, or perhaps you'd like to attend our wellbeing workshops to learn more about building resilience, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me, ben.massey@rpsgroup.com.

 

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