Coffee and energy drinks are a vital part of most people's energy-boosting arsenal. Starbucks sells 4 billion cups of coffee worldwide each year, with other coffee shops doing brisk business. Caffeine-heavy energy drinks offer even more spur of the moment perkiness, but they may be harmful if consumed in large quantities. When you can't grab a quick cup of java or an energy drink, try one of these 10 unusual ways to boost energy. Most of them are free, and don't involve standing in a long line first thing in the morning.
Doing volunteer work lets you give back to your community, and it makes you feel better, too. Studies show lending a hand at the PTA meeting or feeding the homeless at a soup kitchen give you a “helper's high” that gives you energy, and A report by the Corporation for National and Community Service states “Research demonstrates that
volunteering leads to better health and that older volunteers are the most likely to receive physical and mental health benefits.”
You don't need to do formal volunteer work to get an endorphin rush. Helping neighbor move furniture or babysitting for a friend can give you the same feeling of satisfaction and boost energy. Volunteering and helping others may seem like one of the more unusual ways to boost energy, but it can do that and so much more. You'll strengthen social ties (and make new ones) when you help others.
Instead of reaching for cookies or candy, eat a nutrient-packed kiwi for energy. Kiwi contains antioxidants, fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. Research published in Journal of Nutritional Science showed that healthy young men who ate two kiwifruit daily for six weeks had more energy and suffered less depression than a second group with subjects who only ate half a kiwifruit. Kiwi also helps control blood sugar, prevent constipation and lower blood pressure due to its high Vitamin C content.
Other energy-enhancing foods include egg yolks. Eggs are rich in B-complex vitamins, nature's #1 energy booster, and they're one of the best ways to get protein in your diet. Eat eggs for breakfast or include a hard-boiled egg as a snack to combat the afternoon doldrums. You can also snack on pumpkin seeds, which are full of protein, magnesium, zinc and fiber. Whole wheat bread and crackers contain the feel-good chemical serotonin, and give you healthy carbohydrates to keep your energy level high all day long without spiking blood sugar.
Drinking lots of water aids your health in many ways. Water boosts digestion, keeps your skin young-looking and gives you more energy. A Tufts University study showed that dehydration in athletes caused poor performance and bad mood. This study, along with many others, proves that drinking enough water increases energy, improves mood and makes you more alert. The amount of water you should drink varies with your age, medical condition and the amount of exercise you get. Weather plays a factor, too – you'll need more water during a humid summer day than in the autumn. When you're feeling fatigued, pour yourself a glass of filtered tap water. You'll get an energy boost without the time and expense of a trip to the coffee shop.
Unless you work in construction, retail or other jobs that require physical activity, you're probably stuck at a desk all day. Sitting saps your energy; moving around or even standing up for a few minutes invigorates you. Sitting reduces fat-burning enzymes by 90%, shuts off electrical activity in your legs and causes good cholesterol in your body to drop by 20%. Counteract the health effects of sitting by taking frequent breaks to walk, stretch or stand. Walking burns two to three times the calories sitting does, so walk around the office frequently. When you're at home, interrupt TV watching or Internet browsing with errands, housework or other physical activity. Going to the gym once or twice a week won't make up for sitting non-stop at work or vegging in front of the TV. If you have to sit most of your workday, punctuate it with physical activity, even if it's only for a few minutes at a time.
Meditating may seem like an activity designed to cause sleepiness, but it does the opposite. A 20 minute meditation session in the morning clears clutter from your mind and helps you focus. Even five minutes of meditation before you begin your workday will help if you don't have time for a longer session. To reduce anxiety and depression and rewire your brain for more productive work, aim for 20 minutes of uninterrupted meditation. Practice meditation in the same time and place each, preferably before you've logged in to electronic media for the day.
To meditate, sit on the floor or in a chair. You can sit in a lotus or relaxed lotus position, or with your legs stretched out in front of you. Close your eyes, and take deep, slow breaths. Concentrate on your breathing. Let thoughts come and go; acknowledge and dismiss them. You may find it difficult to stop your mind from racing when you start meditating, but daily practice will make it easier. Stop meditating when it feels natural to do so – there's no need for a timer. Meditation seems like of one the most unusual ways to boost energy to a beginner, but you'll see results right away. You'll feel calmer, happier and more focused.
Many of the unusual ways to boost energy are helpful when you work at a desk all day.
Working in a poorly lit office drains energy, and many people don't get a chance to renew themselves outdoors in brain-activating sunlight as often as necessary. If you spend most of your day indoors, like most of us do, there are steps you can take to let the sun shine in.
Lift your window shades as soon as you wake up, and arrange your workplace to get some natural sunlight streaming in from windows during the day. Take a half-hour walk in the morning (or exercise outdoors) before work or starting the day's activities. This will pep you up, giving you more energy and boosting your mood. (The sun is the best source of Vitamin D, the happiness vitamin.) Go out in the sun as often as you can, even if it's only for a few minutes, especially before meetings or events where you need to be super productive or animated.
At work and at home, use natural light or white color lightbulbs with a high Kelvin (K) number. A high Kelvin number means the bulb has more white or blue light. Sunlight contains short wavelength blue light
Chewing any mint gum, including peppermint or spearmint, stimulates the nervous system. Chewing gum has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and boost your heart rate. A study conducted at the University of Rhode Island found that subjects who chewed gum for 20 minutes three times each morning felt more energetic and ate 67 fewer calories at lunch than subjects who didn't chew gum. Nerves in jaw muscles send messages to the brain indicating satiety, which accounts for reduced appetite, and increased blood flow from chewing boosts energy.
Taking a hot shower or bath relaxes you and helps you get to sleep faster, so if you want more energy, do the opposite – take a cold shower. A freezing cold shower (about 50 degrees) lasting a few minutes kicks your metabolism into gear and can even improve your immune system. The initial shock of cold water hitting your skin causes you to breathe deeply and increases your heart rate. Blood rushes throughout your body, giving you more energy for the day. Actress Katherine Hepburn, a leading lady in films for 60 years, took cold baths for most of her life and recommended it to others.
Getting an all-body massage helps circulation and increases energy, but visiting your massage therapist isn't always possible in the middle of a busy day. You can restore energy by massaging your ears – it sounds silly, but it works. All your acupressure meridians intersect in your outer ear. Massage the rim of each ear for 10 to 30 seconds for an uptick in energy. An ear massage is one of the most unusual ways to boost energy, but it gets results.
Crank up your favorite tunes to get energized! Listening to music offers several health benefits, according to this article on Netdoctor.co.uk. A study conducted at an English university showed that playing upbeat music can help joggers run up to 15% faster. Listening to music boosts your mood, helping you relive happy memories and forget your troubles. Singing along with music, in the shower, while cleaning house, or anywhere, increases energy and relieves tension almost as much as working out. You don't need to sing well – just going through the physical motions of singing lowers stress hormones and gives you an emotional boost. It's also been shown to strengthen the immune system and build confidence.
Pranayama is Sanskrit for “extension of the life force.” This yoga breathing technique helps eliminate the shallow breathing that causes energy and health problems. Diaphragmatic breathing, alternate nostril breathing and other pranayama reduce stress and sharpen focus, renewing your energy and giving you more “get up and go” for daily activity. Alternate nostril breathing is one of the simpler pranayama techniques.
Alternate nostril breathing is one of the unusual ways to boost energy, but it doesn't take much time to learn. Use the thumb, little finger and ring finger on your right hand to alternate which nostril is closed. You close your right nostril with your thumb and close the left nostril with your little finger and ring finger. You keep your mouth closed and breath only through your nose. You'll inhale through one nostril, then close it off and exhale with the other nostril. Begin with one or two rounds gradually increase to ten. Practice alternate nostril breathing an empty stomach, preferably in the morning along with meditation.
There are lots of energy supplements and energy bars on the market today, many with preservatives and sketchy ingredients added. If you want a proven, natural way to increase your energy level, try wheatgrass tablets. A wheatgrass tablet offers a quick, easy way to raise vitality. Made with high-grade wheatgrass, and often supplemented with herbs and extra B-complex vitamins, a wheatgrass pill offers more nutrients than popular vitamin brands. Wheatgrass consists of 70% chlorophyll – the pigment that makes plants green. This nutritious substance gives wheatgrass its energy-spiking ability. When you take a wheatgrass tablet, you get dozens of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, plus hundreds of enzymes. Wheatgrass contains Vitamin C, all energy-boosting B-complex vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and Vitamin A. Magnesium, a primary component of chlorophyll, helps your muscles, tissues and organs stay strong. When your body lacks magnesium, fatigue may be a consistent problem. Other minerals in wheatgrass include zinc, selenium, calcium, cobalt, copper, potassium, iron and sodium.
Unusual ways to boost energy will come in handy when you're feeling fatigued after a grueling project or long day out. To stay healthy and keep your energy steady, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep and incorporate a wheatgrass supplement from Wheatgrass Love as part of your daily routine.
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