21 Oct How To Boost Your Energy Today
Do you get home from the end of the day utterly exhausted? Or are you the person whose energy nose dives around 2pm driving you to devour something sugary or a strong coffee?
You’re not alone. Take a trip to the supermarket and you’ll find supplements, vitamins, and drinks all claiming they’ll boost your energy in no time. While some may work initially, popping a pill or drinking a caffeinated, sugary drink shouldn’t be your goal long term.
You see, you need to work on the cause of the energy imbalance to sustain any long term results. Often this means just changing up your diet and lifestyle. With a few of my simple tips, you can boost your energy today naturally without the need of some fancy supplement or major intervention!
I like to think of your energy similar to that of a battery on a cell phone. Taking quick fixes like the caffeine and sugar is like plugging your cell phone in for 5 minutes in the hope that 5% will last the entire day. It doesn’t. Instead your energy is created by your good choices over the period of the day. Each good choice is helping to fill your energy completely back up.
1. Reduce your stress
I want to start with stress because it’s often one of the most overlooked reasons why you may be lacking in energy. Whether it’s physical or emotional, stress is incredibly taxing on the body.
This is because the alarm of the stress, such as an emotional reaction, a physical trauma, micro-organisms or toxins, triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response. Adrenocorticotropic hormone is released causing our adrenals to secrete adrenaline and other stress hormones.
Even though the stress may have dissipated, the effects on the body are continuing. Cortisol and other corticosteroids play out in the resistance reaction, which sees protein converted into energy and causes our body’s to retain sodium keeping our blood pressure elevated.
If you have continued stress, this resistance reaction is prolonged and as a result, your risks of diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cancer have just increased dramatically. To put it simply, your body goes into partial or total exhaustion where functions or specific organs collapse.
Reducing your stress is vital to reduce the load on your organ systems, especially your heart, blood vessels, adrenals and immune system.
2. Exercise more
You may not feel like you have the energy to exercise, but if you do a workout I can guarantee it will pay off.
This is because exercising releases the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. When secreted in moderate amounts, these hormones help to make you feel more energised. Your cells also receive more energy to help circulate the oxygen around your body and more nutrients are carried to the right places through your bloodstream.
Don’t feel you need to do an intense long session to gain the benefits. To restore your energy, the best way is to exercise at a more relaxed pace. This could be going for a walk along the beach, doing a yoga session or going on an easy bike ride.
3. Get enough, but not too much sleep
It’s suggested on average we need about 8 hours sleep to function optimally and maintain our vitality. During sleep our cells produce and release proteins which are essential for the growth and repair of tissue.
Limit your sleep and your inhibiting this vital process, resulting in a weakened immune system, poor concentration and even mood swings. But here’s the catch. Sleeping too much can also affect your energy levels, and not in a good way. Having an afternoon nap or sleeping in for too long may be impacting on the quality of your evening sleep and be too excessive. You see, we’re all individuals and as a results, we all need a different amount of sleep.
The other way to ensure you’re maintaining your energy levels is to stick with the same sleep routine every night. If you go to bed at 10:00pm and wake at 6:00am, then do so every day. Yes, even on the weekends!
4. Nourish your body with nutrients including water
There are many energy-enriching foods you can consume to help keep you feeling energetic and avoiding an afternoon crash.
Iron-rich produce like red meat, chicken, eggs and legumes, will help the body produce energy from glucose to fuel our body and brains. Complex carbs will help stabilise your blood sugar levels, with my favourites being sweet potato, beetroot, quinoa and brown rice.
Getting an adequate intake of B vitamins will help your body fuel with the carbs, proteins and fats you’re ingesting. They also help your blood pump oxygen around the body, make hormones including our anti-stress hormones, and they’re essential for our brain function.
Magnesium, found in brazil nuts, cashews, legumes and green leafy vegetables, is another nutrient that’s essential for energy production. As it’s a co-factor for many of our enzymes it plays a vital role in our health and vitality.
And we can’t forget water. Yes, it’s a nutrient and one that many tend to forget about. Believe it or not, it’s the only nutrient that has been found to enhance the performance of people participating in the most demanding and intense endurance activities. And while you may not have recognised the link between water and your lack of energy, one of the first signs of being dehydrated is fatigue.