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.)
Put your dancing shoes on
You have the music part down, and now you need some dancing. According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Music Therapy, all it takes is a little movement to give your energy levels a boost. Getting your groove on in the office can be a little tricky, though, so maybe stick to some foot and finger taps to some of your favorite upbeat songs instead.
Make your shower freezing cold
Is there a worse feeling than when you’re taking a nice, hot shower and all the sudden the water goes cold? Definitely not. But it sure does wake you up. A 2007 study published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Functions found even tolerating a few measly minutes of icy water a day can’t get rid of any tiredness almost immediately, helping you say goodbye to chronic fatigue.
Take a lunch-break jog
Before devouring your lunch at the office, throw on your sweats and head outside for a quick jog. Sure, you might get a little sweaty, but considering a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found 30 minutes of exercise every day can give you long-lasting energy boosts, it’s totally worth it.
Eat carbs for breakfast
Whoever turned eating carbs into a bad thing clearly never fully got to appreciate one of the greatest joys in life in all its glory. Instead of starting your day with something light, switch things up with something heartier like oatmeal. When you eat complex carbs instead of simple carbs (like cereal and white bread) you’ll feel energized without the crash.
Take a morning stroll
It might require you to wake up a little earlier, but kicking your day off with a walk around the neighborhood is the quickest way to perk up your body and give you a boost of energy that lasts all day.
“This doesn’t have to be long, but even just stepping outside for a few minutes in the sun will ensure your circadian rhythms are running right,” says Andrea Traviliian, a life coach. “The morning sun has more blue light to get you going.”
Have a pack of gum on hand
Feeling a little tired? Reach for a piece of gum—or, you know, grab one from someone else in the office. (Hey, they owe you!) According to research published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, the simple act of chewing can bump up your level of alertness by 10 percent.
Plan your day the night before
If you want to feel super energized tomorrow, you have to set yourself up for success today. That means planning everything from what you’re going to eat to when you’re going to bed. Trust us: Your future self will thank you.
“The way you feel in the morning is directly related to what you did the day and night before,” explains Denny Hemingson, diet and lifestyle expert and functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner. “Did you eat a clean diet, avoid caffeine after 1 p.m., shut off electronics an hour before bed and get 7-8 hours of restful sleep? Also, don’t overdo the alcohol since It’s proven to prohibit the body from entering the deepest stages of sleep.”
Plan your day the night before
What’s up, Doc? Steal a trick from Bugs Bunny and grab a bag of carrots to always have on hand at work for when you’re struggling through an afternoon crash.
“We should be consuming between nine and 10 servings of vegetables every day,” says Jeanette Kimszal, a nutrition and fitness expert. “This may seem like a lot but it is only a one-half to one-cup per serving. This means if you add three cups to each meal you will be at the recommended intake.”
Plan your day the night before
If magnesium isn’t already part of your morning vitamin-taking routine, it’s time to change that. According to Nikki Walter, TEAM Athlete for Bodybuilding.com, it helps break down glucose into energy, giving your body just the extra push it needs to get you through a particularly busy day.
Set aside time to meditate
You wouldn’t think slowing down would help you speed up, but that’s exactly the power meditation has on the body. And the best part? All you need to do is devote a handful of minutes a day to the practice before you start feeling the results.
“Take five minutes to [breathe] and keep your focus on your breath,” advises Hemingson. “If your mind wanders, just bring it back to your breath. It’s amazing what this can do for your mental energy.”
Brew some black or green tea
While coffee is always a good bet for increasing your energy levels, so is sipping on some tea. Both black and green varieties will provide you with the perfect amount of caffeine to help you feel more lively.
“It’s a pretty good way of starting your day all energized,” says Mashfika Alam, a physician. “It can help you stay fit in the long run because it boosts your heart to pump better and your metabolism to work better, ensuring proper stamina.”
Toss chia seeds into your smoothie
Despite being small, chia seeds pack an incredibly powerful punch. They contain everything you need for a solid boost of energy—including fiber, protein, and healthy fat—that will last all throughout the morning. Plus, they also contain fiber that will keep you feeling full and satisfied, helping you avoid reaching for an unhealthy snack that could bring your energy levels right back down.
Give your style an upgrade
Aside from the moving your body and eating healthy, what you wear can play a big role in your energy levels, too. While throwing on something you’re not too fond of can make you feel crappy, dressing for success has the opposite effect.
“Dress well and appropriate and you’ll be surprised as to how much self-confidence can boost energy levels,” says Alam.
Eat some chocolate
Alright, not just any chocolate, but raw cacao. The powder is full of body-boosting properties, one of them being phenylethylamine, which can help take your energy levels from 0 to 10.
“Raw cacao has PEA—AKA phenylethylamine—which is known to increase energy levels in some [people],” advises fitness coach Kylene Terhune. “Depending on your level of responsiveness, it may energize you in a similar way to a shot of espresso.”
Exercise before work
Getting in some exercise is a sure-fire way to become a more energetic person. If you never feel up for hitting the gym after work, try to beforehand: You might have to get up earlier, but that time working up a sweat will set you up for an energy-packed day.
“Slowly elevate your heart rate by moving your body in a way that you enjoy and that challenges you,” says Ginny Wright, a nutrition coach and personal trainer. “Maybe by doing a body-weight workout, swimming, or cycling. Bonus points for exercising outside and connecting with nature.”
Start keeping a journal
If you think about it, a lot of your energy is sucked up by worries, stress, and anxiety. If you can get everything running through your mind out in the open by jotting it down in a journal, you’ll have more energy for the things that actually matter.
“Take five to 20 minutes to write down your thoughts, feelings, and your ‘to-dos,’” says life coach Kathy McCabe. “This is a powerful practice and time creator. Taking this time will help you see what is ‘running through your brain,’ and help you organize your top priorities for the day.”
Use a dry brush
Dry brushing isn’t anything new—it’s actually been around for centuries. As great as it is for your skin, using the wooden brush all over your body is also a simple way to make you feel more energized.
“Not only will this help stimulate your lymphatic system and slough off dry winter skin, it’s a passive way to stretch and begin warming-up your body for the day,” says Kara Martin Snyder, a health and lifestyle strategist who runs VitalCorps holistic wellness service.
Add more fiber into your diet
While starting your day with animal products and processed foods can make your blood sugar spike, totally wreaking havoc on your energy levels, eating a high-fiber, plant-based breakfast can give you everything you need to stay fueled.
“Try a blueberry and almond-butter smoothie, made with your favorite non-dairy milk,” says McCabe. “Throw in a little flax for your omega-3s and a couple of frozen broccoli spears, or a handful of spinach for extra antioxidants. You won’t taste the greens.”
Make hiking your new favorite pastime
Hiking is growing in popularity for a good reason: It’s not just a fun way to get in some exercise. Being out in nature is also super energizing. (And no, that doesn’t mean you need to turn into Paul Bunyan! Even a short walk will do the trick.)
“One secret is to keep the activity fun and enjoyable by choosing scenic venues or hiking,” says Scott Deuty, author of Secrets of an Over 50 Former Fat Man. “Hiking also makes for a great date, with conversation and the ability to get to know a person. The last place I go for activity is indoors, especially in a ‘dungym.’
Use a jade facial roller
Wait, a whaaat? Jade rollers have been around long enough to have been found in ancient tombs, and now they’re making a major comeback. The tool—made from real jade stone—have plenty of skincare benefits like reducing inflammation and getting rid of puffiness, but they’re also incredibly energizing. When you’re in need of an instant pick-me-up, stick your roller in the freezer for a few minutes until it gets cold, then run it over your neck.
Grab some invigorating scents
Smell is much more powerful than you think. Just like your eyes widen when you take a whiff of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, scents like citrus and mint also perk up your body. But instead of making you want to devour an entire sheet of dessert, they boost your energy levels.
Check unpleasant items off your to-do list
When there’s something you really don’t want to do, it’s easy to spend your entire day avoiding it. The only problem? Doing so takes up all of your energy. Just sucking it up and getting those things done, though, will instantly make you feel more lively; there’s nothing more energizing than feeling accomplished.
Start doing affirmations
Practicing positive self-talk every day is going to feel a little silly at first. Once you get the hang of it, though, it will be a fool-proof way to start your day off as energized as possible.
“For example, if you’re unmotivated to go to work, take a moment to decide how you want to feel that day,” suggests McCabe. “It could be, ‘I want to feel focused and calm and not overwhelmed.’”
Give adaptogens a try
Another increasingly trendy thing that has been used for centuries are adaptogens—AKA herbs that have serious body-boosting potential. There are a handful of choices you can add to your diet—whether that’s tossing the powder into your smoothie or mixing it into your tea—that will help you up your energy levels.
“Adaptogenic herbs like rhodiola and ashwaghanda can all help create an energetic, focused, and relaxed state of being,” Hemingson says.
Whip up some green juice
One of the easiest ways to shoot back a whole lot of energy-boosting vitamins and nutrients at once is to make or buy some green juice. As long as it’s mainly vegetables, you’ll reap the benefits without the crash later on. Plus, according to Samantha Kelley, a holistic lifestyle coach and founder of SunKissed Health, all the nutrient-dense, dark leafy greens you’ll be swallowing down have antioxidant properties that can also help “protect against cancer and other diseases.”
Take time to breathe deeply
No time to meditate? No problem. Instead, just sit at your desk and take a few deep breaths in and out. As your lungs fill up and empty out, you’ll get a rush of energy throughout your body, helping you keep pushing through your day like a boss.
Say goodbye to technology
Don’t worry, though—it’s just for a while. As fun as it might be scrolling through all your friends’ updates on Instagram or binge-watching your favorite series on Netflix, it’s actually incredibly draining. To get your energy back on track, ditch technology to do something that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. Who knows—you might even pick up a new hobby while you’re at it.
Do some cleaning
When your home is in shambles, doesn’t it instantly make you feel tired? Even though it will take up a chunk of time, cleaning and organizing your place will do wonders for your mental health, instantly making you feel more energized and fulfilled. Plus, when it is time to wind down, you can relax in a nice atmosphere without piles of paper and clothes wearing you down.
Keep healthy snacks on hand
While sugary snacks can send you into crash-mode, completely draining you of energy, having some healthy options nearby can give you just the burst you need—particularly in that mid-morning time or between lunch and dinner. According to Becky Kerkenbush, a registered dietitian at Wisconsin’s Watertown Regional Medical Center, eating consistently throughout the day can “fuel a healthy metabolism, maintain muscle mass, and prevent hunger between meals. It also maintains blood sugar and regulates the release of cortisol (a hormone associated with increased appetite and storage of fat).”
Get hydrated right away in the morning
You know water is important for staying energized, but timing is important, too. Instead of waiting until halfway through the day to chug down some H2O, start your day with a glass to help with digestion, boost your metabolism, and make sure you’re not dehydrated from all the hours you were fast asleep.
Trick yourself into feeling energized
Mind over matter, right? If you’re not feeling the most energized, just fool yourself into thinking you are. If you choose to be energized and visualize yourself that way, your body can shift into actually feeling that way physically. It might sound a little crazy now, but give it a try — it could totally change the course of your day.
Trick yourself into feeling energized
When you start your day feeling grateful for everything you have, you can push all those negative vibes aside and let yourself truly shine. That tiny, extra effort of being positive about your life is such an energizing trait that will make you feel more alive.
“Instead of waking up stressed out—which is totally energy draining—think of two to three most important things that you are grateful for the opportunity to accomplish today,” says Natalia Levey, author of Cravings Boss and founder of Healthy Intent. “How will you change someone’s day, or life? How will you grow?”
Take some time to stretch it out
It doesn’t matter if it’s right when you wake up or halfway through your day. Stretching is a great way to wake up your body and get an instant wave of energy.
“I concentrate on my lower back, hamstrings, shoulders, and anything else that may be bothering me,” says Robert Herbst, a wellness coach. “The stretching warms the muscles, loosens the joints, gets the blood flowing, and helps me get centered and mentally prepared for the challenges and stresses of the day ahead.”
Ask for a standing desk
Sitting all day can turn even the most energetic person into the most fatigued. To keep your levels up, ask your boss if you can switch to a standing desk at work. You’ll stay just as comfortable when you’re working upright and it won’t take long to notice a major difference in how you feel.
Change up your commute
If your commute to work is getting stale, figure out a better, more energizing way to travel from point A to point B. If you don’t live too far away from your office, consider walking or biking to get in a quick workout and boost your energy levels before you even arrive at your desk. For more on reaching your highest potential, here are 7 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power After 40.
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