From the office coffee pot to energy drinks to weekend sleep binges, you may be looking for an energy boost in all the wrong places. To get more vim and vigor, what you really need to do is change your habits. Try these simple strategies to put more pep in your step.
Consistent workouts are like putting energy in the bank. Research shows that regular, low-intensity exercise can decrease fatigue by as much as 65 percent. The next time you’re tempted to hit the snooze, try a brisk walk instead.
Beware Energy-Sapping Dehydration
Lack of sufficient water takes a toll on your energy stores. Even mild dehydration can cause headache, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. And did you know it’s even easier to become dehydrated in winter than in summer? Here are 9 tips for making sure you get enough fluids day in and day out. If you don’t like water, try herbal tea, fizzy water, or add lemon juice or other fruit flavors to your drinking bottle.
Increase Your Iron Intake
This essential mineral boosts the body’s energy supply by helping oxygen travel to muscles and cells. Iron is present in hemoglobin, present in red blood cells, which carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. When iron stores are low, your brain may not get the oxygen it needs for concentration and your muscles may not have the oxygen they need for physical energy. Iron also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system to help you fight off infections.
Iron-rich foods include dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, lean beef, eggs, and nuts. Here is a whole set of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control to make sure you’re not running low on iron.
Get on a Sleep Schedule
When you skimp on sleep during the week, it’s tempting to try to make up the hours by sleeping in til noon. Unfortunately, all that does is throw your circadian rhythms completely out of whack, setting you up for an even worse week ahead.
Instead, try getting on a sleep schedule and paying close attention to your sleep hygiene habits like making sure your room is dark, quiet, and cool, and that you turn off computers and others screens at least an hour before bedtime. Here are Dr. Lisa Chui’s tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.