The energy drink business has grown into a 9 billion dollar industry. Checkout stands are loaded with tiny liquid-filled “energy” bottles. Coffee shops are stationed at every street corner. Everyone is looking for something to wake them up, give them endurance and make them active.
What they don’t know is that seeking external sources of energy is a short-term solution to a problem they can fix naturally and internally. Energy can be found in the foods you consume (or not consume) and the activity you perform daily. Energy can also be found in the amount of rest you achieve.
Dr. Holly Lucille, a licensed naturopathic doctor and author of Creating and Maintaining Balance: A Women’s Guide to Safe, Natural, Hormone Health, says that it’s important to give your body enough time to recover. “It is imperative to give yourself time for recovery. Whether it is from training, traveling, working, a huge deadline, family in town or a busy weekend, we need downtime to rest, repair and rejuvenate. It is the balance of stress and de-stress that is the key to maintaining tip top energy.”
Similarly, Nicole Geurin, a registered dietician and nutrition blogger, not only believes people can increase their energy by resting but also by the type of foods they eat. “Aim for snacks that have a combination of protein and fiber,” she says. “It slows digestion and provides ‘staying’ power.” Power snacks contain around 200 calories. Some ideas include an apple with walnuts, an orange with yogurt or crackers with hummus.
In addition to recovery and nutrition, exercise is an important component to increasing your energy. Hilary Herndon, a personal trainer and college instructor, promotes exercise as a way to increase energy levels. “I’ve had clients who had more energy in the day simply because they exercised in the morning,” she observes. As an instructor, one of the ways she rouses her students during an afternoon slump is to have them perform jumping jacks or a set of pushups. According to Hilary, “nothing increases your alertness like allowing the blood flow through your body.”
So how do you know if you are energy deprived? Do you hit your snooze button several times before you wake up? Do you require a cup of coffee each morning? Do you grab candy out of the vending machine for quick energy? Do you feel sluggish after lunch time? If you said yes to any of these questions, then here are 24 tips to boost your energy.
1. Go for a power walk
Increasing the blood flow in your body awakens your cardiovascular system. Not only are you transferring oxygen and nutrients to your body’s tissues, but you are also improving your endurance and strength.
2. Perform a set of lunges or squats
Getting your muscles engaged elevates your endorphins (your happy hormones) and promotes blood flow and decreases stress and anxiety.
3. Climb a flight of stairs
If you have limited access to walking areas, climb up a flight of stairs to challenge your muscles and promote cardiovascular stamina.
4. Stop slouching and sit up straight
Posture not only enables you to breathe properly but as a result of better breathing, you can concentrate better because more oxygen is getting to the brain.
5. Elongate your body and stretch
Stretching improves circulation because it helps blood flow to the muscles. Studies have shown that it also decreases blood pressure and improves artery function.
6. Take a break from your computer
Besides bad posture, being on your computer for extended periods increases your exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR). EMR emitting from your computer creates feelings of sluggishness, eye strain, and fatigue.
7. Get organized
Creating a more controlled environment not only helps you concentrate on a short-term task, but it produces a cleaner, healthier environment.
8. Consume foods with natural sugars and a low glycemic index
Berries are filled with nutrients and antioxidants that improve mood and promotes good digestion.
9. Get 8 hours of sleep each night
Achieving a few Rapid Eye Movement (REM) cycles throughout a full night’s sleep has shown to decrease stress, improve your mood and enhance alertness.
10. Listen to and sing lively music
Listening to a favorite song awakens your brain cells and gets your body in sync with a fast-pumping rhythm.
11. Engage in an interesting conversation
Being absorbed in a topic that interests you increases your alertness and awakens your brain.
12. Eat lighter meals throughout your day
Eating light meals consistently keeps your metabolism churning and your body balanced.
13. Drink a big cup of green tea
Green tea suppresses your appetite, raises your metabolism and increases your fat oxidation.
14. Exercise in the morning
Training in the morning is like waking your body up and preparing it for a day of activity. Inhaling oxygen, challenging your heart and moving your muscles all promote endurance and energy throughout your day.
15. Consume coffee moderately
A cup of Joe is not bad for you when you need a pick me up. Caffeine increases your memory and alertness. However, too much coffee negatively affects your sleep, stress levels, and blood pressure.
16. Avoid eating processed sugar
Processed sugar found in foods such as candy and donuts creates an instant energy fix but an immediate dip in energy shortly after.
17. Eat more healthy fats
Nuts are rich in energy, protein, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.
18. Have a good laugh
Humor increases vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood. As a result, you are more alert and creative.
19. Take a power nap
A quick 20-minute nap allows your brain and body to rest. When you awake, you are more productive, alert and energetic.
20. Try aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a form of therapy that uses aromatic compounds to influence a person’s moods. Citrus oils, such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit, are commonly used to combat fatigue and lethargy.
21. Have more sex
Sex relieves stress, helps you snooze and increases blood flow in your body.
22. Get off Social Media and socialize in person
Socializing has a powerful effect on people’s brain and body. Being around people improves mood, posture, and alertness.
23. Drink more water
Water moisturizes your lungs, increases your metabolism and detoxifies your body.
24. Avoid people who drain your energy
Negative people literally “zap” your energy from you. When someone complains or blames constantly, walk quickly in the opposite direction.
By Maria Kang