What can you do about low energy levels?
I know we all have those days where we wake up and feel like we don’t have the energy to take on the day. Life is busy and sometimes fatiguing. However, low energy shouldn’t be a regular problem. You may have a constant struggle to get going in the morning, or feel the need for that big cup of coffee before you can even say “hello”. Maybe you find yourself struggling to get through the work day, or your losing focus on tasks that need to be completed. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to make changes to improve your energy levels.
Everyone knows that water is good for you. That’s not a secret. Our bodies rely on proper hydration. Almost every system in the body requires water to function. Consequently, a lack of water can cause the body to slow down. As a result, fatigue sets in causing sluggishness and decrease productivity. Keep a bottle of water nearby so you can sip throughout the day. Although there is water in most of the food we eat, there is no substitute for plain drinking water. Better hydration will help you stay alert and focused.
Sip coffee or tea
Energy drinks are everywhere today. There are so many brands and varieties that it’s hard to even keep track. Most of these energy drinks will give you a huge boost. Unfortunately, these drinks are loaded with sugars and will eventually lead to a hard crash. Try sipping on coffee or tea instead. Coffee often gets a bad reputation, but if you keep your caffeine levels low it can actually be quite beneficial. Try to avoid more than 300 mg of caffeine and don’t drink coffee too late in the day. The average cup of coffee has 90-100 mg of caffeine. Too much caffeine can cause arrhythmia and disrupt your sleep at night. Teas have much less caffeine (typically 40-50 mg) and can be just as beneficial to your energy and mood as coffee. With so many varieties of herbal and green teas, you will find multiple benefits in every cup you drink.
Get more exercise
Exercise is crucial for increasing energy. First of all, exercise will help you sleep more soundly allowing you to feel recharged when you wake up. Secondly, exercise causes your body to release epinephrine and beta endorphins that give your body energy. Finally, exercise creates energy by improving circulation of oxygen rich blood through the body. Time is always an excuse for exercise. However, even a 10-15 minute brisk walk can boost energy levels for up to two hours afterwards. Even stretching can help to improve energy. Taking 3-5 minutes at work to do some basic yoga poses like down dog, or stretching your arms in the doorway of your office can help to rejuvenate your body and mind. People spend way too much time sitting, working and staring at screens. This is fatiguing for the mind and body. Get up and move. You’ll notice a big difference.
Soak up some sun
Speaking of moving. Try taking a break from work and getting outside in the sun. Take a 15-20 minute walk on your lunch break. The time in the sun will help your body absorb much needed vitamin D. Just 10 minutes of sun exposure on the face and arms can produce about 10,000 IUs of vitamin D. Not only will the vitamin D and fresh air help your energy levels, it also helps with a number of diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.
Most Americans are deficient in this important energy boosting mineral. As a result of this deficiency, you can have low energy. Lack of magnesium can cause fatigue, muscle pain and insomnia. Magnesium is actually involved in over 300 biomechanical functions in the body, including neurotransmitter function and heart rhythms. Try snacking on a handful of almonds or eating more leafy, green vegetable to get the levels of magnesium needed.
Diet and nutrition
Eating the right foods is only part of maintaining good energy. Just as important is how much you eat and maintaining your caloric intake throughout the day. Eating smaller portions of high protein foods every few hours will give you sustained energy through the day. It is also important to eliminate sugary snacks and sweets. The result of this type of eating is a spike in insulin followed by a crash of energy. This can lead to more cravings as well, which can cause unhealthy weight gain. Reach for the high protein, high fiber mid-day snacks, such as raw vegetables and nuts. Make sure to avoid refined starches and sugars to prevent fatigue and energy lag.
Take Mental Breaks
One of the main reasons for fatigue is overwork. Overwork does not just mean your job; it also refers to family and social obligations. Keep your energy high by keeping your stress low. Taking 10-20 minutes to shut down your mind and body can drastically boost your energy. So take a power nap, try meditating or just find a quiet area to do an activity that calms your mind. You’ll find yourself feeling more energized and more productive if you do.
This may seem like a lot of change to make, however if you do, you’ll be glad you did. You’ll feel improved energy and your body will be healthier as a result. Try making one or two of these changes at a time. As you start to feel your energy improve, start adding more changes. Eventually, you’ll be sleeping soundly and be exuberant throughout the day.
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