We all know the basic secret to revving up our body’s engine: More sleep, more exercise and better nutrition. But did you ever consider eating more fish as a way to get more energy? Or that along with the exercise, grooving to some tunes can improve your mental attitude, help fight fatigue and improve your performance?
Starting with those tips, here are 10 ways to get more energy:
Seek restful Zzzs
Just because you sleep seven to eight hours a night doesn’t mean you’re getting a good night’s sleep, according to Dr. Steven Y. Park, author of “Sleep Interrupted: A Physician Reveals the #1 Reason So Many of Us Are Sick And Tired.”
“Some people can sleep 10 hours and still feel lousy in the morning,” said Park, who is an assistant professor of otolaryngology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Park told MNN that to get a restful night of sleep he recommends making sure you don’t retire with a stuffy nose, finding your ideal sleep position and not eating, drinking alcohol or using the computer close to bedtime.
Move to the music
The healing art of music is well-documented. You listen to relax, but also to become motivated. Janet Pfeiffer, a national anger management expert and author of “The Secret Side of Anger,” said in an email to MNN that, “music has the innate ability to change how we feel.”
It certainly helps Pfeiffer take her mind off work she considers boring, such as housecleaning or painting. “Music distracts me,” she said in an email to MNN. “I cannot listen to music without singing and dancing.”
Speaking of exercise, some nontraditional moves might be just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate and recharge. Elizabeth Trattner, a Miami Beach acupuncturist who specializes in Chinese medicine, told MNN via email that beating your legs together like windshield wipers can reset part of the nervous system. “Lie on the floor and rotate legs back and forth like wiper of a car, out then in,” she wrote.
Toe lifts also have been shown to help energize. Pfeiffer recommended leaving your desk for a quick break if you feel groggy. For those who work from home, like she does, consider doing housework, running the stairs, raking leaves, even playing with the dog.
Erin Palinski, a New Jersey dietician and nutrition consultant, told MNN via email that a brisk walk is beneficial because it improves circulation and mental function.
Turn on the lights
The body responds to light, triggering the brain to release specific brain chemicals that enhance energy, Trattner wrote in an email to MNN.
Getting fresh air and sunshine is a definite mood booster, she wrote. “While you’re outside, take a few deep breaths.” See how revitalized you’ll feel. Not to mention that it provides natural vitamin D.
Certain scents and bath products with citrus, lavender, ginger and peppermint will leave you more alert. Add to that list: jasmine, cyprus, eucalyptus, spearmint and geranium, Palinski wrote in an email. Popping a mint has a similar effect.
Vent your feelings
Len Saunders, a children’s health, fitness and wellness specialist in New Jersey, told MNN via email that relieving stress by screaming, venting and bringing closure to uncomfortable situations can help increase energy.
On the other hand, bottling up your fear, anxiety and stress can sap your energy, WebMD reported. Ease your anguish by discussing it with a friend or family member. Social interaction, in general, can be a mood booster. And if the connection ends in laughter, so much the better.
Fuel up for energy
The energy foods cited over and over again mimic those promoting general health: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and olive oil. Herbal tea and plenty of water are also recommended.
Barry Sears, creator of the Zone Diet, told MNN via email that he recommends consuming omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish and purified fish oils. “Omega-3 fatty acids boost energy by reducing cellular inflammation,” he wrote.
And, for more pep in your step, supplement with a vitamin B complex or magnesium.
“Magnesium is responsible for breaking down glucose into energy, so being even slightly low in this mineral can cause a dip in energy. Grab a snack high in magnesium, such as nuts, for a quick boost of energy,” Palinski wrote in an email to MNN.
Just do it
Fatigue is a form of procrastination, Dr. Robert Sheeler, editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, wrote in his editorial, “Fatigue: Clues and News.” “If you are convinced that you’re too tired, then you won’t have to face the pile of papers you don’t want to address, or you won’t have to attend a social obligation that you find stressful.”
Making lists is another great way to reduce stress and increase energy, Saunders told MNN via email. “Many people become time sensitive and this worry can lower energy level.”
Make a difference
“People often feel more energized and alive when they’re doing something they consider of value and importance,” wrote Sheeler, who is also an associate professor of family medicine. “How connected they feel to other people and to processes that give meaning to their lives are also important aspects to consider when they’re feeling invigorated.”
Lighten your load
Just like doing what you love, cutting down on unfulfilling tasks that burden and overwhelm can reduce fatigue, Sheeler wrote.
“It’s common to feel tired, edgy and unfulfilled when your days are taken up with tasks that you find limiting rather than empowering. Running endless errands, seeking to be perfect at lawn care and housecleaning, and fulfilling every obligation that’s thrust upon you can often leave you with an empty feeling.”
Gradually restructuring your day to include more of what you enjoy not only improves your energy, but your overall health too, he wrote.
Got other tips for ways to get more energy? Leave us a note in the comments below.