Feelings of anxiousness, stress, and fatigue are not uncommon in today’s culture. A busy life equals a constant state of go. This state makes it hard to live a life of longevity and sustained energy, and the idea of increasing your energy becomes an unattainable expectation.
If you live a busy lifestyle, you know that something is always demanding your attention. Ultimately, these demands on your time translate to a long list of energy-depleting behaviors.
Managing your time might seem like the right solution, but if you’re exhausted all the time, finding more time in your day won’t help. So, what can you do? Well, if spending your days on sunny beaches with a refreshing drink on hand isn’t an option, then focusing your efforts on cultivating energy is the next best thing.
How to increase energy: 3 sustainable tips
Low energy affects your daily activities and makes you less productive. The crucial first step in figuring out how to increase energy is to understand the impact of proper nutrition and exercise. Proper nutrition and exercise isn’t about looking good in a bikini or speedo, it’s about fueling your body for the functional elements of everyday life.
The US Department of Health & Human Services reports that unhealthy eating habits contribute to major health risks including chronic diseases. Simply put, without proper nutrition and exercise, your body does not function at its optimal state.
Imagine trying to drive across the country on one tank of fuel. It’s just not going to happen; you will obviously need to refuel several times along the way. In life, you need to consistently give your body the quality fuel it needs to sustain energy.
Before you can begin cultivating energy, you must consider the following questions:
How do you train your body?
How do you fuel your body?
How do you prioritize overall health and wellness?
These are big questions because the answers are the key to increasing and sustaining your energy levels. If you believe your lack of energy is related to your lifestyle, we have wonderful news for you. You can make simple sustainable changes that will significantly boost your energy levels naturally.
1. Train your body for optimal performance
Having a daily exercise routine helps fight fatigue and boosts energy. It may seem counterproductive, but researchers say that expending energy through a daily exercise routine may pay off with increased energy in the long run. According to sports medicine specialist Robert Gotlin, DO, exercise boosts your body’s fitness and also your mood, which contributes to your overall health and well-being.
You don’t have to run marathons, do CrossFit, or even go to the gym. Training for optimal performance means simply staying active. Programs like the HIIT workouts what’s featured on the 8fit app allow you to incorporate exercise into your life without interrupting your routine. All you need to do is find small pockets of time in your day.
As an example, if you spend your day at an office, make a conscious effort to stand up at least once an hour. It’s as simple as walking to get a drink of water. (On that note, make sure to drink enough water.)
If you take a lunch hour, commit the last 20 minutes to simple exercises. You will feel re-energized and ready to tackle your afternoon.
2. Fuel your body for increased energy
Learning how to increase energy through quality food sources is a game-changer. Did you know that most of the energy you require today is derived from nutrients that you ate and stored yesterday? It’s a misconception that your body taps into new nutrients (recently consumed and absorbed) to live, breathe, and move at any point in time when in fact it’s your stored nutrients that fuel the bulk of your daily functionality.
Your food choices are vital to optimizing your energy levels. To maintain a consistent supply of energy throughout your day, we advise fueling your body with a combination of high-quality carbohydrates and protein-rich foods. This provides a slow, steady release of fuel, balanced sugar levels, and consistent energy stores. Look for proteins and slow-release carbohydrates that provide long-term nutrition instead of short bursts of energy like those from simple sugar.
By pairing these two, you’ll notice an improvement in how you feel. A great afternoon snack can be an apple or whole-grain cracker (carb) paired with a low-fat cheese stick or peanut butter (protein-rich).
Another option to consider is eating a light lunch. In general, eating heavy meals leaves you feeling sluggish and tired. A lighter meal helps keep your energy levels stable and reduces the likelihood of overeating. You can avoid the risks of overeating by preparing a healthy lunch and snacks the night before.
Here are some examples of complex carbs and protein sources to keep in mind:
Whole-grain cereals, crackers, bread, and pasta
Chicken breast (without skin)
Low-fat dairy made from goat/sheep’s milk
Nuts & nut butters
3. Train your mind for sustained energy
The way you start your morning can make or break your day, and your mind plays a major role in setting the stage. The way you think and your perception of your personal environment affects your energy levels.
A remarkable truth is that when you begin your day with intention, you train your mind in service of greater energy. If you start your day feeling tired and your first thought is about how you’re going to make it through the day, chances are you will carry that feeling with you throughout your day.
Here are some tips to start your morning off right:
Stay away from electronic devices for at least the first hour after you wake. By avoiding emails and social media, you begin your day with a clear mind not polluted by other’s perceptions, demands, or needs. Rather than starting your day in a reactive and defensive state, look to re-frame it by dedicating your morning to you.
Spend three-to-five minutes meditating. Your body’s response to stress is fatigue, and although meditation is said to be a calming activity, it can boost your energy over time.
If you struggle with meditation, simply spend a few moments performing simple breathing exercises. Close your eyes, inhale for a full deep breath, then slowly exhale to release the breath. Clear your mind and focus on the sound of your breath.
Perform this cycle over a three-to-five-minute period. You’ll be surprised how calming and energized you will feel.
Smile and think positive thoughts. You can start by asking yourself, “what am I grateful for today, or what am I looking forward to today?”
Set your intentions for the day. Setting intentions is an excellent way to work on centering yourself and focusing on the things you want to achieve. The goal of setting intentions is to focus your behavior on being the best version of you and working toward the things that bring you happiness and fulfillment.
Make a commitment to yourself to be better today than you were yesterday. If you start your day with the mind-set of improvement, you send a powerful message to yourself that you believe in yourself.
It’s clear that the more demands life has on your time, the more you’re going to want to increase your energy levels. Try to find ways to incorporate these simple sustainable tips into your day, because the choices you make in the present will affect how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.