So, it’s not even lunchtime on Monday and you’re already craving a restful weekend. Or, you really want to get your workout done this evening, but you just have no energy. Sound familiar?
While fatigue is often attributed to a lack of sleep or general busy-ness, there are other reasons you might be slumping through your day. Getting the balance of life, work, family, fitness and general health right is a constant juggle. So, here are 5 easy ways to increase your daily energy level:
1. Eat your way to more daily energy
Not all foods were created equal. While we need a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, it’s important to know the most energy-efficient proportions to eat them in. Because food is your body’s energy source the way you eat your food and which foods you eat can affect whether you are energized throughout the day or searching for that sugary pick-me-up by mid-afternoon.
Generally, plant-based foods that are high in fibre and with low glycemic index such as bananas, apples, brown rice, lentils, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes are excellent energy-providers. But, even animal-based products such as eggs and fatty fish help. All of these foods provide substantial amounts of B vitamins, along with other nutrients. So, you get a slow release of sugar into your bloodstream (meaning constant energy), feel fuller for longer and improve your health too!
2. Pump up your energy with regular exercise
We love regular exercise for many reasons but importantly for energy purposes exercise improves blood circulation. Improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles and joints enables them to work more efficiently. The side effects to more energy from exercise – it improves endurance, strength and helps to manage your weight. It’s a win-win.
Just like nutrition, exercise needs to be a balance of working your cardiovascular system in different ways. Regular exercise that builds lean muscle, involves high intensity interval training (HIIT) and low intensity cardio, such as walking or swimming is beneficial for improving overall energy levels.
3. Get your sleep to improve your daily energy
This sounds obvious, of course you need sleep to have enough energy to function. But if you did a sleep audit of your hours of shut-eye, how do you think you would rate? The average adult should get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to receive the full benefits that sleep provides. While you sleep your body goes through a series of REM and non-REM sleep cycles. These cycles allow your brain to manage hormones, chemicals, and processes within your body. When it comes to providing energy, sleep is literally the time your body recovers and repairs muscles and joints! Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each evening – that could add up to banking some extra energy for the week.
4. Meditate your way to more energy
There is so much more to the power of our minds than we know. And meditation is one way to quiet the ‘noise’ that often saps our energy. Meditation is said to improve energy by regulating cortisol levels and increasing endorphins. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. In cases where your body is stressed cortisol levels increase blood pressure. This results in feeling constantly ‘switched on’ and remaining awake when you should be sleeping! Conversely, lower cortisol levels can also result in fatigue.
The release of endorphins is also a response to stress, though while cortisol may result in fatigue, endorphins provide a significant burst of energy commonly associated during activities such as running, sports activities, and mindful meditation.
5. Ditch the caffeine crutch
While coffee can provide that great energy hit, overuse of caffeine can lead to insomnia, fatigue, and sleep cycle disruption. This is because coffee blocks a chemical called adenosine which elevates during the day to provide energy and decreases at night to help you sleep. Coffee is also a diuretic which can send you rushing to the toilet more often. This can result in dehydration that also contributes to fatigue.
What do your daily energy levels say about you?
With today’s fast paced lifestyles, we are all prone to a lack of energy at some point. However, if you are truly honest with yourself how often do you sleep adequate hours, fuel your body optimally and stay active consistently? If you’re lacking daily energy you need to assess your lifestyle and move towards making small, but lasting changes that will improve your energy levels. Active8me makes this part easier for you! With any one of the customized programs you receive deliciously nutritious meal plans (with recipes and healthy eat-out options). Plus, a balance of workouts to truly energize you and mindset lessons that keep you on track to success, whether that be more energy, feeling fitter or losing weight.
Words by Krista Harper, Pilates Instructor and Writer