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The next time someone tells you to "Take a hike," tell them gladly. Walking regularly not only adds years to your life, it reduces ones risk of endometrial, breast and colon cancer. No need for the gym and no need for expensive equipment—just your two feet and a good pair of shoes. Read more to test your vitality quotient and get tips on ways to get moving.
Eat HealthyKeep MovingStay Informed

A common misconception is that long life and good health is expensive. True, if you shop at high end grocers and join the most expensive health clubs in town, better health can be costly. But if your budget is cautionary, there are money friendly ways to get and stay healthy.

1. Walking is free. Whether it is in your neighborhood, a local park, a school track, your office building stairs, a covered shopping mall or in your living room—walking is an inexpensive way to exercise. Start with 30 minutes 3 days a week for about 3 weeks, then up your days to 5-6 days a week. If time is precious, think outside the box—schedule walking meetings with your work staff, divide your thirty minutes into 10 minute short walks, as you progress up your walking speed to intervals—3 minutes fast pace, 2 regular pacing for 30 minutes.

2. $1 a pound. That is the cost for free hand weights. Most sports stores sell hand weights for no more than $1 a pound. Why should you weight lift? Physicians recommend two 30 minute sessions per week to help reduce muscle loss associated with aging (www.collagevideo.com allows you to review videos before purchase and rates them by level of fitness, duration and type of exercise).

3. Stretch, Socialize and Find Solace. Regular stretching, yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, prayer and time spent with friends and family all help reduce blood pressure and the release of harmful corticosteroids, which can lead to abdominal weight gain, blood sugar problems and heart disease (for free online meditation tapes, go to www.project-meditation.org).

Alyssa Abbey, author of the book, Stop Making Excuses and Start Living With Energy (Capstone, 2008) is an exercise physiologist, radio show host and coach with 20 years experience in energy management and personal vitality [link to www.livewithenergy.com]. Alyssa, nicknamed as the Queen of Vitality, shares her experiences and advice to get moving and stop whining. She has heard every excuse in the book—no more she says.

In order to get up, get out and start enjoying an active life, the first step is to be aware of what is draining you of your precious energy. Is it a lack of sleep? Is it your personal life…your job? Or is it your own attitude.

To being answering these questions, think of your life as an energy vessel. Every day you dip into the bucket to live your life and each day you revive the energy bucket with food, sleep and energizers like passions, people and purpose. But as described in this diagram, if the holes at the bottom of the bucket are so large that all your motivations drain away—no wonder there is no joy and vitality to eat right, exercise and find fulfillment. Take this test to come to grips with what fuels and drains your passion and purpose.

1. Overall, how are your energy levels today?
I'm running on empty       I'm ready for anything
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

2. Physically, how do you feel?
Shattered       Fighting fit
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

3. What about emotionally?
I need chocolate/ a hug/ to scream       I'm on top of the world!
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

4. What's your concentration like?
Can't focus on anything       Razor-sharp
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

5. How motivated do you feel?
Who cares       Fired up
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

6. When you wake up in the morning, how do you feel most frequently?
Like pulling the covers back over my head       Rested and refreshed
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

7. Do you follow a healthy diet each day?
I’m on first name terms with the local takeaway       It’s a way of life
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

8. Do you resort to junk food (crisps, chocolate etc.) to keep your energy levels up?
All the time       Never
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

9. Do you use caffeine to keep your energy levels up?
Addict       Never touch it
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

10. Do you drink 2L of water each day?

If I'm honest? Never       Habitually
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

11. Which best describes your alcohol consumption?
More than recommended -
every day
More than recommended -
3 times per week
or a weekly binge
More than recommended -
once a week or occasional binge
I stick to recommended
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
* 1 unite of alcohol = 1/2 pint of beer, 25 ml spirit or a 175 ml glass of wine
** Recommended units per day for Men = 3 units and Women = 2 units

12. Do you use a relaxation technique such as meditation or breathing exercises?
Never Monthly or in a crisis Fortnightly Weekly Daily
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

13. Do you exercise?
Never knowingly Very occasionally I do, but it's sporadic 1-2 times a wk religiously 3+ times a wk it's a way of life
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

14. Do you laugh often?
Less than once a day       More than 6x a day
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

15. Are you happy?
I'm on a pretty low ebb       I choose to be happy every day
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

16. Do you have peace of mind?

Not really       Completely
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

17. Do you know – really know – what your values are?
Never thought about it       Absolutely
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

18. Do you live those values?
I don't have time       Yes, I use them to guide my decisions
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

19. How well do you maintain concentration during the day?
Sorry, what?       Very well
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

20. Do you take regular breaks?

Ha! Ha! Don't have time       Like clockwork
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

21. Do you have an interest outside of work that you pursue on a regular basis?
No Monthly Fortnightly Weekly Daily
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

22. Do your relationships give you energy or drain your energy?
Majority drain energy       Majority give energy
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

23. Do you actively develop and strengthen your relationships?
I don't have time / don't know how       I make the effort every day
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

24. How valued do you feel by your family, friends, work team or community?
Not at all       Completely
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

25. Do you take part in charity or community projects/events, which lift your spirits?
No, never       Yes, regularly
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%


If you scored:

You are highly energised and focused, and most likely you feel pretty jazzed about life! What do you need to do to keep the fire burning? If you reached this score but don’t feel energised enough, it’s because your expectations are higher, and that’s super.

You have some energy, but it probably feels like an effort to get going on things, whether it’s work or physical activities. If you want to feel better, you need to discover more sources of renewal, and make them happen in your life. Feel too tired to make any changes? Do something small to boost your energy enough to think about the bigger things.

Below 50%
You’re in survival mode in terms of your energy, and it’s probably difficult to concentrate or find the oomph for new projects or anything proactive. If you feel you’re hanging on for dear life, don’t despair! This is not a life-sentence if you take some positive steps – small ones at first, and one thing at a time.

We hope this questionnaire raised your awareness of where you might need to focus your efforts for sustaining energy levels.
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