Sara Jane Adkins is a writer, food-lover and mother. Founder of Natural Healthy Living, she inspires people to become more nutritionally conscious while still enjoying the foods that they love to eat. Her articles have appeared on Calorie Count, Share Care, Healthy Fit Natural, Huffington Post and the Chicago Tribune.
Whether you’re just prying yourself out of bed in the morning or you’re hitting that inevitable afternoon slump, you might be in need of a quick energy burst to carry out your day. Although it’s hard to avoid the popular coffee chains stationed on nearly every street corner, their drinks are often loaded with caffeine and calories, and can become quite costly if purchased daily.
So if you choose to bypass the vanilla latté or double-shot mocha, what can you do to get the surge of energy you need?
Fortunately, there are countless options to help boost your energy levels without the unhealthy and annoying “crash” that often follows a caffeine binge. Here are six options that will leave you energized and alert, while helping you maintain your health goals.
1. Chew Gum
When there’s no coffee in sight or your stomach just can’t handle the acidity, your energy levels don’t have to suffer. According to several studies
, the act of chewing mint gum
can actually improve your ability to pay attention and increase alertness. These effects are not attributed to a sugar rush invoked by a high-calorie treat, so don’t think you have to swap one sugary vice for another. The results are actually due to the motions and energy involved in chewing. According to the studies, chewing gum causes your heart rate to go up, which sends oxygen and glucose to your brain. The effects are sustained for nearly 20 minutes, which is just enough time to get your attention back on track and your body moving. Peppermint, specifically, is known to have the strongest impact, as it naturally improves memory and alertness.
2. Blend In
When your energy levels are low, especially first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon when your stomach is empty, you’re likely experiencing low blood sugar. This can leave you fatigued, unmotivated and unable to concentrate. A high-powered smoothie made with greens, fruit or protein powder
combined with hydrating fluids can serve as a quick and healthy source of energy
. In addition, the nutrients contained in your concoction will keep you satiated and help you maintain your focus for several hours after consumption. Try this Green Monster Juice Drink
for a healthy and nourishing beverage that will get you motivated and energized in no time.
3. Turn up the Tunes
You may not always have the option to blast a fast-paced dance tune or catchy pop song, especially if you’re in the office, but if you’re able to slip on some headphones or turn up your alarm clock radio, get to it! This is a particularly helpful tactic if you’re feeling unmotivated to exercise or get out of bed. Listening to your favorite song or the type of music to which you just can’t resist tapping your foot will give you an instant boost that will vibrate throughout your body. Some studies
even show that listening to classical music improves efficiency and ingenuity.
4. Start Walking
When you’ve been sedentary for eight hours, whether you’ve just woken up from a restful night’s sleep or you’ve been sitting at your computer for a majority of the day, you’ll likely feel fatigued and lazy. Moving your body – even for just a few minutes – can recharge your batteries by increasing your heart rate and pumping blood throughout your body. This triggers a release of oxygen, and encourages your mind and body to become alert. A short trip to the water cooler or a brisk walk around the block can help you become more awake, focused and ready to tackle your next project. Additionally, if you choose to walk outside, the sun’s rays will give you a burst of vitamin D that will keep you alert and motivated.
5. Clear the Clutter
Have you ever stopped in the middle of a project and looked at your desk, only to see a mess of papers, sticky notes, power cords, and used coffee cups? When operating in a messy, cluttered environment, whether at work, at home, at the gym or in the kitchen, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and unmotivated. Take a moment to stop what you’re doing and clear the clutter. The simple act of changing activities coupled with the energy needed to organize will not only boost your brainpower, but will leave you with a clean workspace that will allow for more creativity and productivity.
6. Supplement with Ginseng
Available in more than 10 different varieties
, including Siberian and eleuthero, ginseng is an herb that helps your body adapt to stress, while giving you a boost of energy and stamina. According to Medical News Today
, supplementing with ginseng naturally stimulates mental and physical activity in people who feel drowsy or drained. Over time, regularly supplementing with ginseng can even help to improve cognition and your ability to think clearly. This is especially beneficial for people in high-stress positions or workplaces that need to stay focused yet calm as they execute their duties.
may be a tasty and easy way to get a quick boost of energy, but going the natural route provides many more benefits for your long-term health. Over-caffeinating with the stimulant will often leave you feeling dehydrated, jittery or unable to get a restful night’s sleep, which will negatively impact your energy levels in the long run. If you’re used to getting in your daily cup of Joe, try one of the aforementioned tips instead and see how you do. If you find yourself with an afternoon headache or if you’re unable to get the jolt you need, ease into these options by gradually decreasing your caffeine intake and increasing activity levels or water consumption