7 ways to increase energy
1. Eat breakfast. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are more likely to report being in a good mood and having plenty of energy throughout the day than those who don’t.
Researchers at Cardiff University also found that eating a bowl of nutrition-rich breakfast cereal every morning leads to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
As always, avoid health-zapping, highly processed food, which includes most boxed cereals.
Drink water. Sometimes even slight dehydration can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. Blood and other bodily fluids are mostly water. Even mild dehydration can cause blood to thicken, forcing the heart to pump harder to carry blood to cells and organs, resulting in fatigue.
The solution is simple: a tall glass of water. In addition to drinking more water, consume foods that are high in water content, such as carrots, watermelons, and oranges, and other juicy fruits and vegetables.
Walk around the block. It may seem that physical activity when you feel tired is likely to make you even more tired, but the opposite is true. Moderate physical activity such as walking increases energy.
In experiments conducted at California State University, not only did a brisk 10-minute walk increase energy, but the effects lasted up to two hours. And when daily 10-minute walks continued for three weeks, the walkers reported increased overall energy level and improved mood.
Eat a power snack. A treat that combines protein, a little fat, and some fiber—like peanut butter on a whole-wheat cracker, or some unsweetened yogurt with a handful of nuts—does the trick. The carbohydrates offer a quick pick-me-up, the protein keeps your energy up, and the fat makes the energy last.
Try to eat every three to four hours. Having three smallish meals and two snacks can keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable all day long. Note the word “smallish.” Supersized meals demand more energy to digest, which can leave you feeling lethargic.
Sweet foods cause a spike in blood sugar, which gives you an initial burst of energy. But that high is followed by a rapid drop in blood sugar, which can leave you feeling wiped out. Fiber has a time-release effect on carbohydrates, so the glucose released by high-fiber foods enters your bloodstream at a slow and steady pace—energy with staying power.
Some suggestions of fiber-filled options are a bowl of bran cereal, black beans and cheese wrapped in a multigrain tortilla, air-popped popcorn or an apple.
Make it a latte. If you drink coffee, try pairing that quick caffeine boost with the sustaining power of protein by making it a latte. All that milk turns your java into a protein drink, which gives you extra energy. Also, the extra calcium is good for your bones, provided you don’t negate that benefit with lots of sugar. Combine it with an ounce of almonds, and the healthy fat will really tide you over, while making you feel like you’re spoiling yourself!
Reduce stress. One of the biggest energy zappers is stress. Chronic stress, even at low levels, will erode your energy level. Over time you will find yourself doing less and feeling it more.
Whatever is relaxing to you will reduce tension, and that will help increase energy.
Take belly breaths. When you breathe in, your belly should round and fill like a balloon; when you exhale, your belly should deflate. Of course, remembering to practice deep breathing isn’t the first thing on your mind when you’re under the gun, so as a reminder, try posting a tranquil picture with the word “breathe” next to your computer or wherever you tend to get stressed.
Let go of grudges. Nursing a grudge prompts your mind and body to react as if they’re under chronic stress, resulting in an impaired immune system and exhaustion over time. On the other hand, practicing empathy and forgiveness keeps the body’s stress responses in check.
Energize your spirit. Life happens. Emotionally difficult situations are inevitable, but if you react wisely—prayer and positiveness help—then your brain and body will rebound, along with your vim and vigor.
Splash some water on your face or take a shower. Studies report that a little H2O refresher can increase energy and take the edge off when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Listening to music is one of the most effective ways to counter a bad mood, decrease tension, and increase energy. Research suggests that music effectively distracts you from feeling fatigue. Play a CD of your favorite songs when you need a pick-me-up.
Do some good. A study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that acts of altruism can boost six areas that affect energy levels: life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health, mood, and overall happiness.