Do you reach for a cup of coffee when you need an energy boost? We all know that caffeine contains only a small amount of calories so is actually not a source of energy, nutritionally speaking. Why we feel ‘energised’ when we consume caffeine is because it stimulates the brain, making you feel more mentally alert. But is this the best way to boost your energy during the day? Let’s take a look at five other ways to boost your energy, so that you don’t have to solely rely on caffeine.
- Eat for energy
Eating is the simple answer for an energy boost as food gives us energy. Our brains need a steady supply of nutrients to function at their best. Eating every 3 to 5 hours is a good general rule to follow so that you don’t hit empty and struggle to get the energy levels right again.
The most important rule is don’t skip breakfast. Research has shown that a healthy breakfast has a direct effect on how children perform at school, and it is just as important for adults too. It is also important to note that missing any meal during the day can lead to an overall greater feeling of tiredness by the end of the day.
Carbohydrates give the perfect energy boost, but be mindful to choose the lower glycaemic index carbohydrates (where the sugars are released more slowly into the blood) and combine them with some lean protein or plant fat. This will allow a consistent supply of energy over a couple of hours.
Examples of low GI carbs: low fat plain or fruit yoghurt, glass of milk, fruit with nuts, legumes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, seed loaf or rye bread
- Drink a glass of water
Being even slightly dehydrated can result in tiredness and lethargy. So when you’re feeling the fatigue set in, start with a glass of water rather than a coffee or cool drink.
- Go for a walk outside
Although it may feel like the last thing you have energy for, increasing your physical activity can increase your energy. A brisk 10-minute walk can increase your energy levels for up to 2 hours, and doing this on a daily basis increases your overall energy levels. When you catch some rays during your walk you’ll produce some vitamin D, which has also been shown to improve tiredness.
If you don’t have time to go for a walk, getting up and shaking out your hands and legs is another way to get the blood flow back into the brain.
- Take a power nap
A quick nap can improve your mood, alertness and performance. Generally, between 20 and 40 minutes is considered the optimal time, as this is long enough to get some restorative sleep but not too long to feel drowsy and struggle to become alert again.
- Try a mini-meditation
Being quiet or still is an excellent way to regain energy. Just sit for 10 minutes. Sitting outside can be really good to get some fresh air too. Try to think of nothing and focus on your senses instead. Deep breathing is a fantastic way to get rid of some stress and focus off of your thoughts.
Next time you feel your energy levels dropping, try one or some of these tactics to recharge your batteries. Or better yet, get these strategies to become part of your daily lives, so that you don’t need quick fix energy boosters anymore.