10 energy-boosting habits to incorporate into your daily routine

Energy is your most valuable commodity. Nowadays, the shortage of time, the responsibilities, and the challenges of day-to-day life are endless.

If you don’t have the energy to look at your day and say, “I’ve got this,” you can find yourself in a constant mental state of feeling behind – the fatigue and exhaustion set in shortly after.

And you can only have so many cups of coffee.

Maybe you’re trying to cut back on caffeine and are searching for alternative ways to boost energy. Whatever your motives are, here are 10 healthy, research-backed, habits that will help you boost your energy.

Have fun kicking today in the butt!

1) Meditate

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Nursing is an exhausting profession – mentally and physically.

In a study recently published in the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, a group of researchers tested the effects of 8-weeks of mindfulness based training on a group of 36 nurses. Throughout the course of the study, they measured the nurses’ ability to keep their attention focused and recorded brain activity during the task.

They found the energy required to maintain attention decreased as the nurses became more trained.

This study tells us meditation can boost energy by using less of it when we’re carrying out our day-to-day tasks.

2) Drink water

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Not drinking enough water decreases energy.

Scientists from the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory showed that mild dehydration alters a person’s mood, energy levels, and ability to think clearly – even at rest.

Stay on top of your water game by drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day. If you wait until your thirsty, it’s already too late.

Boost your energy by staying hydrated!

3) Have a meal replacement shake for breakfast

Meal replacement shakes are great because they act as a full meal replacement (shocking, I know). Compared to a protein shake, which contains protein but minimal amounts of carbohydrate and fat, meal replacement shakes are packed with protein, carbs, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

When life is hectic, it’s easy to forego breakfast and rely on caffeine to get you through the morning. This inevitably leads to a late morning crash, however.

They’ll supply you with the energy you need to start the day. It gives you everything you need, and it’s one less decision to make in the morning as you head out the door.

4) Take a nap

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Naps are not for the lazy and unmotivated. Some powerful, famous people have effectively used a little midday shut-eye to keep themselves alert and effective. People like Margaret Thatcher, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, and Albert Einstein.

If it’s good enough for these geniuses, it’s good enough for you, right?

Sleep experts suggest 10-20 minute power naps are optimal for a quick boost of alertness.

Reset the system and close your eyes for a bit.

5) Take a walk

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Patrick O’Connor and Derek Randolph from the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia found just 10-minutes of walking or climbing a flight of stairs is more effective for boosting energy than a 50mg tablet of caffeine.

They published their results in the journal: Physiology and Behavior.

This study suggests a more effective way to beat the mid-afternoon crash may be to get up and get moving, rather than reaching for another cup of coffee.

6) Get enough sleep

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We are not a culture that values sleep. In the U.S. the average hours of sleep during the work week is 6 hours and 40 minutes.

Combine that with another stat saying only 10 percent of adults require less than 7 to 8 hours and it’s reasonable to conclude that much of the population is sleep-deprived.

Not getting enough restful sleep is detrimental to daytime energy. Combat this detriment by making sleep a priority.

Some healthy bedtime habits include maintaining a consistent bed time, cutting down on screen use in the few hours before bed, and cutting back on caffeine – especially in the afternoon.

7) Take a break

Want to do more? Do less. That is, take more breaks.

Research suggests we’re designed to work in cycles of energy expenditure and rest. We typically override signals to recover by slamming coffee, energy drinks, or sugar.

Just five minutes of recovery where you take the time to get up, walk around, or have a glass of water can do wonders for your energy levels and your productivity.

Some take this concept further by using the pomodoro technique. This technique involves setting a timer for 25-minutes of non-stop work, then allowing yourself 5-minutes of recovery before you put in another 25-minutes. And the cycle continues.

8) Exercise regularly

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A counterintuitive way to combat fatigue and boost energy is to expend more energy.

The human body is incredibly adaptive. When you exercise, your body rises up to meet the energy challenge by making more energy available.

Low to moderate intensity exercise is the best for boosting energy levels.

9) Eat right

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Food is fuel. So, it’s not surprising that high-quality food leads to high-quality fuel and energy.

Keeping energy levels high requires a balanced diet including unrefined carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Get your vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils, and take a daily multivitamin to ensure you get all the nutrients you need.

10) Get outside

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Spending time outdoors is good for the body; it’s good for the soul.

In 2010, lead investigator Richard Ryan (Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Education) of the University of Rochester published a study being outside in nature makes people feel more alive.

They also suggested that the boost in energy people experienced went beyond just what you would expect from physical activity and social interaction alone.

Conclusion

The daily challenges of life can be exhausting. Adopting a lifestyle that puts you in the optimal physical and mental state to meet those challenges can do wonders.

Experiment with one or a few of the habits I’ve listed here and let me know how they work for you!

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The essential guide to hydration and performance

Water is essential for each and every one of us. Hydration is so important because water makes up most of our body (depending on size and gender, it’s about 60 percent of our body weight).

Given its importance, how much do you need to stay hydrated? Do the rules change when you’re working out heavily? What else needs to be taken into consideration? What does fluid actually do in the body? And why is it so bad to be dehydrated?

I’ll answer these questions, and more, throughout the course of this article. If you’re jonesing to learn everything you’ll ever need to know about hydration, read on.

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Why you need to be hydrated

Fluid helps regulate body temperature, blood pressure, and it aids the movement and transport of essential nutrients – things you need for energy.

Your core temperature is the temperature in the deep structures of your body – where all the vital organs, like the liver, call home. Core temperature is maintained in a pretty narrow range, which is necessary for your vital organs to function. Significant drops or elevations for any prolonged period of time are bad news bears since it’s completely incompatible with human life – a.k.a. you’ll die.

Fluids in the body help keep you alive by keeping your core temperature within its functional range.

Blood pressure is the force circulating blood exerts on the walls of blood vessels. Blood pressure too high and you risk stroke, heart attack, heart failure, arterial aneurysms, or chronic kidney failure. Blood pressure too low and vital organs, like the brain, may not get enough blood to deliver it the nutrients and oxygen it needs to function.

Fluid helps regulate blood pressure by adding to blood volume or subtracting from it.

Carbohydrates, protein, fats – the essential macronutrients – are transported in the fluid of the body. No fluid, and the cells relying on these macronutrients for energy aren’t going to be getting what they need.

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What dehydration does to performance

At this point, we know the dire consequences of no water – a person can go a maximum of a week without any source of hydration before they keel over and die.

But what about subtler amounts of dehydration? It’s estimated up to 75% of the American population is functioning in a chronic state of dehydration. What is inadequate hydration of this sort going to do to you?

Subtle, but measurable, reductions in mental and physical performance.

Less fluid in the body means a decreased ability to regulate core body temperature and blood pressure: body temperature increases and the heart beats faster to compensate. Exercise of any kind will also feel harder.

Research suggests you’ll begin to feel these effects at a loss of fluid equal to 2% of body mass. Beyond 2% and may begin to feel nauseous, get diarrhea, or experience other gastrointestinal problems.

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How to stay properly hydrated

Hydration begins long before you exercise.

As a baseline, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggests 3.7 liters of fluids for men and 2.7 liters of fluids for women. Individual needs will vary depending on your health, how active you are, and where you live. But this is a start.

Monitor your fluid loss as a result of exercise. This means weighing yourself pre-exercise and post-exercise.

1 liter of fluid should be consumed for every kilogram lost during exercise. For example, if you weighed 70 kilograms before you exercised, and you weighed 68 kilograms after, you need to consume 2 liters of water to completely rehydrate.

But, we still need to tweak the equation to account for the sweat and urine you’re still losing after you’ve finished working out (you continue to sweat during recovery, of course). To account for these losses too, add 25% to your original estimate.

25% of 2 liters is 0.5 liters. This means we can be reasonably confident we’re adequately rehydrating by consuming 2.5 liters of fluid in the 2-6 hours following a workout.

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What to drink

Plain water does a pretty good job if you’re thinking about hydration alone. To kick performance and recovery up a notch, there are sports drinks and supplements available.

During exercise, muscle carbohydrate stores (glycogen) are one of the major endogenous sources of energy. Having a hydrating beverage with carbohydrates maintains glycogen levels to extend peak performance.

You lose more than just fluid during exercise. You also lose vitamins and electrolytes – sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

There are a variety of sports drinks and rehydration supplements on the market that will help replace the vitamins and electrolytes you’ve lost during the course of a workout.

Contact me and I can tell you more about your options and guide you in the right direction.

Is it possible to go overboard?

Yes, but it rarely happens.

Overhydration can lead to water intoxication. When you drink a lot of water really quickly, your kidneys can’t keep up removing the excess fluid in your urine. Too much water accumulates in your bloodstream and the salt and other electrolytes in your body are essentially swamped.

The symptoms can range from mild (headaches and disorientation) to really severe (coma and death). But, again, it rarely happens.

It’s tough to do. You have to drink liters and liters of water really, really fast.

A good indicator of your hydration levels is your pee. Pay attention to it. If you’re peeing, and peeing, and peeing, and peeing, and your pee is clear ever time, give your kidneys a chance to keep up and stop drinking for a while.

If it’s dark, you’re dehydrated, and you need some fluids.

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Conclusion

How much fluid you need on a regular day and on a training day varies with the individual. Paying attention to a few things, such as the color of your pee and how much body weight you lose during the course of a workout, can give you an indication of how much you need to stay adequately hydrated.

Let me know what you think of the article in the comments below. If you’d like to talk more about hydration and hydration options, contact me anytime, I’d love to talk to you.

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Have a great week!