Keeping energy levels high throughout the day can feel like a nearly impossible task. The midafternoon crash is so common that companies are making a fortune marketing products, such as energy drinks, specifically designed to help people beat this daily struggle.
Finding the energy to remain full, focused, and ready to take on the day does not have to be impossible, however. There are dietary changes and activity adjustments that you can make to help boost your energy levels, allowing your to accomplish more and feel better from the moment you get up until you go to bed. Here are ten ways that you can start feeling better right away.
1. Eating protein, especially early in the day
Protein is a great way to get the day started right. It is essential for warding off fatigue and helps keep the body full and energized for much longer than carbs alone by facilitating the function of hormones and enzymes. Protein also helps the body repair its tissues, keeping your muscles working at optimum levels.
2. Drink plenty of water
The body needs a lot of water to get through the day. Oddly enough, it is actually easy to confuse the body’s signals for thirst with hunger and even fatigue. Be sure to drink several glasses of water a day to keep your body hydrated and feeling refreshed. There is no need to drink calorie-ridden sports drinks, just regular water with a bit of lemon for flavor is all that is needed.
3. Improve the quality of sleep
Saying that sleep and energy are correlated may be the most obvious statement of the century, but there is more to our nightly rest than the number of hours. You can drastically improve your energy levels just by increasing the quality of sleep. This means establishing a healthy sleep routine, such as avoiding television in bed, making the room completely dark, and having a relaxing evening routine leading up to rest.
4. Move more
When you feel tired the last thing they want to do is exercise, but the truth is that exercise can actually help youfeel more energized while also improving focus and memory. As an added bonus, exercise can help you sleep better at night by tiring the body prior to rest. Consider taking a brisk walk after lunch to feel reinvigorated and ready to tackle the afternoon while setting yourself up for a restful night. Or a walk at the end of the work-day can help you feel less stressed and more energized for the events in your evening.
5. Maintain gastrointestinal health
Poor gastrointestinal health leads to poor energy levels says, Eva Cwynar, M.D. Taking the time to clear out and support the intestinal tract by using supplements designed to cleanse toxins and support good intestinal flora can help avoid a ‘leaky gut’ and maximize health. Watch what you eat on a daily basis to avoid damaging your gastrointestinal system. Avoiding artificial sweeteners, using alcohol sparingly, and drinking plenty of water on a regular basis are an important part of this process.
6. Watch magnesium levels
Magnesium is an important mineral for helping the body break down carbohydrates into energy. It is also responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions. Understandably, when levels begin to drop, so does energy. One study found that when women did not get enough magnesium, they had higher heart rates and required more oxygen to complete the same physical tasks as other women. Boosting levels can be as simple as adding more legumes, almonds, leafy greens and whole grains to the daily diet. Supplements can also be helpful for those who struggle to get enough in their diet.
7. Reduce stress
Stress and anxiety often go together, and they are both major sources of fatigue. Stress is an evolutionary adaptation in which the body mobilizes quick burning nutritional fuel in order to avoid predators. When this occurs regularly over a long period of time, your body’s energy reserves are drained, leading to an exhausted system and lower energy levels.
Combat this problem by building more times for relaxation into the day. Some people might find that a gentle stroll is helpful while others might prefer taking time to read a book. Still others might find that getting an occasional massage is their preferred source of comfort. Each person needs to determine their own stress remedy and work it into their regular schedule.
8. Eat whole grains and complex carbs while reducing sugar
Many people make the mistake of eating something sugary or caffeinated when they start to feel an afternoon slump approaching. While these foods can serve as a quick boost, this fuel runs out after just a few short hours.
The key is to maintain constant blood sugar levels. Eating whole grains and other complex carbs is a great way to accomplish this goal. These foods help the body release energy slowly and constantly throughout the day, helping people feel energized from the start to the finish.
9. Make the most of snack time
Snacks are not inherently bad, not even for dieters. The important thing to remember about snack time is that it is an opportunity to fuel your body. Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar, look for foods that are high in fiber and protein and low in processed sugars. This will help the body feel more full for longer, provide an energy boost, and keep blood sugar levels steady.
10. Incorporate omega-3s whenever possible
Omega 3s have been shown to give the body a boost in a number of ways. They are great for improving mood and staving off the adverse effects of depression and anxiety. Adding either a supplement or working more fish, flaxseeds, or other source of these essential fatty acids into the diet is a great way to beat the blues and keep you functioning on an even keel.
Feel better while accomplishing what you have set out to do by trying to incorporate any of these 10 recommendations if you find that they are areas you could focus on improving in your life! Seek help from your physician or a nutritionist if you are doing these already and need further examination and guidance.