We could all use a pick-me-up now and then. But imagine this: A permanent pick-me-up. Instead of that mid-afternoon espresso or RedBull, you’d just… naturally be energetic, pumped, ready to tackle anything and everything in your way. Wouldn’t that be great? Well, lucky for you, that’s a not-impossible goal. Whether it’s a simple dietary shift or a change to your look, there are tried-and-true methods for boosting your energy level from morning til night. Adopt these 15 habits and you’ll transform into a bona fide Energizer Bunny in no time. And for more great health advice, check out The 100 Ways To Be A Healthier Person Right Now.
Tap your “thymus.”
Your what? The thymus is located at the top of your chest, a few inches below your collarbone. Its primary function is to produce T lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that, according to energy coaches and practitioners of Chinese medicine, can boost your energy levels. To properly tap the thymus, slowly and deeply breath in and out while gently tapping that area for 20 seconds. Do this three to five times per day.
Walk up and down some stairs.
Researchers from the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia found that, when it comes to powering through your 3:00 pm crash, a visit to your office stairwell will do miles better than another cup of Joe. Walking up and down stairs for about 10 minutes—that’s about 30 stories—offers the same level of energy as roughly 4 ounces of coffee. And as an added bonus, you’ll get a quick workout in, too. There’s a reason this is the number one way for getting an afternoon boost.
Wear orange-tinted glasses.
Sure, they may look a little bit… dorky? Edgy? Whatever you think about these funky glasses, they can actually do wonders for your energy levels. See, blue light—the stuff that’s emitted from laptop and smartphone screens—serves as a melatonin inhibitor; in other words, it’s preventing you from falling asleep quickly. But orange lens glasses will block that blue light, allowing you to sleep easy, rest better, and, as a result, have more energy. So if you’re using screens in the evening, wear these things for an hour or two before bed—when your body starts to power down for the night—and you won’t experience any drop in melatonin.
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Get some rays.
Everyone knows that spending a few minutes in the sun can give your happiness levels a little kick in the seat. (That’s the Vitamin D from solar rays doing its job.) But as it turns out, spending a few minutes in the sun can give your energy levels a kick, as well. According to research out of Newcastle University, Vitamin D levels are directly correlated with energy levels: Scientists found that phosphocreatine—or the stuff that powers your muscles—recovery is boosted by up to 20 percent after 10 weeks of steady Vitamin D intake. For advice on what to get some sun in, check out any of the 25 best swimsuits for 2017.
It’s the way of the modern office worker: We stare a computer screen, focused on the work—or, let’s be honest, the latest viral thing—in front of us. But according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this rapt attention is depleting our brain’s energy; without realizing it, most of us aren’t blinking. Every time we blink, the brain’s visual and somatosensory cortexes take a “mini nap,” barely noticeable, that allows for an essential recharge and subsequent energy boost.
Start lifting weights.
Do you even, bro? According to Mark Moyad, MD, the director of preventative and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center, “Pumping iron three times a week can increase energy levels by up to 50 percent, even on days you don’t lift.”
Eat some ginseng.
Ginseng is widely believed to lower cholesterol, reduce stress, and increase sexual desire. But in addition to all of that, the magical herb seems to have yet another benefit: Boosting your energy. The folks at the Mayo Clinic found that, among 340 cancer patients, 2,000 milligrams of ginseng was able to demonstrably reduce fatigue by 20 percent over a four-week period. (Half of the patients were given placebos and reported no reduction in fatigue.)
Get more L-Carnitine into your diet.
L-Carnitine, a derivative of amino acids, is found in all parts of the body. Per the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, the stuff “plays a critical role in energy production” and is naturally produced at a sufficient rate to “meet the needs of most people.” However, if your body isn’t producing enough—or if you just want a little pick-me-up—slate more of this stuff into your diet. It’s most commonly found in beef, milk, fish, and chicken. (Over-the-counter supplements are also available.)
To get the most out of your beef, be sure to try out some of the 15 best steak marinade recipes of all time.
Adopt a higher-protein diet.
Many of us equate high-sugar snacks with high energy, and that’s fair: Sugar, after all, gives us an instant boost—followed by a crash. Protein, on the other hand, provides sustained, lasting energy; it’s harder for your body to break down proteins than carbs or sugars. (As an added bonus, you’ll be full for longer.)
Drink less alcohol.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 20 percent of Americans use alcohol to fall asleep. Yes, alcohol can make you feel drowsy—but alcohol use is directly correlated with poor sleep quality: it disrupts circadian rhythm, inhibits REM sleep, and can send you running to the bathroom in the middle of the night. All of this leads to poor sleep, which, in turn, depletes your energy levels.
Don’t even think about skipping breakfast.
They say it’s the most important meal, and you know what? They’re right. Breakfast jumpstarts your body’s functions and provides the essential energy to get through to lunchtime. But, per the NPD group, 31 million Americans—about ten percent of the country—skip the meal, most commonly because they’re “too busy or running late.” So before you start your day, slow down for five minutes and grab a snack. You can afford five minutes.
Take more catnaps.
Snagging a moment to sleep at some point during the day—between 10 and 30 minutes, and before 4:00pm, so as not to disrupt your nighttime sleep—has been shown to increase memory, cognitive function, and alertness. And if you cut the nap off before 30 minutes, you won’t suffer what’s called “sleep inertia,” or that dazed and confused sensation you feel between waking up and being fully awake.
Listen to fast-paced music.
Per Scientific American, fast-paced music grants an instant energy boost by essentially “overriding” our brain’s signals for fatigue. It’s why upbeat music is played at gyms—to keep people from tiring out. However, the benefits of such much top out at 145BPM. In other words, you’d get the same benefits by listening to “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift (160BPM) as you would listening to “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen (147 BPM).
For the best gear for listening to your favorite tunes, check out the 20 best headphones you can buy in bulk.
Drink more water.
According to a study in The Journal of Nutrition, a 2 percent level of dehydration doesn’t set in until we start feeling thirsty. The same study says that a 1.5 percent level of dehydration is enough for significant fatigue to come on. The solution? Be sure you’re drinking enough water so that you never feel that thirst sensation. For women, that’s about eight eight-ounce cups per day; for men, it’s ten.
And more coffee.
Or anything with caffeine. (Duh.)
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