Already had 3 cups of coffee and you’re still tired? It’s not uncommon. We all struggle with maintaining an optimal energy level throughout our day. There are several factors that can influence our feeling of vitality.
This month, we’ll uncover some of these factors to get a better understanding of what drives our level of energy each day. There are simple steps you can take to help your body function at its peak and keep you feeling energized.
Managing Your Intake
As with nearly everything relating to your health, your diet plays a major role in determining how energized you feel. Since we get our energy from our food, this should come as no surprise!
Managing your blood-sugar level is the key to managing your energy level. Taking in high levels of simple carbohydrates (think sugars, white flour, etc) will cause your blood sugar level to spike quickly then drop off just as fast. Avoid relying on these types of foods to energize you. Substitute fruits or whole grains for snacks instead.
Avoid over-eating as well. We all know the feeling of eating too much and getting into the dreaded “food coma.” Keeping your portions controlled will go a long way to your overall health in addition to your energy level throughout the day.
For your meals, focus on getting a good mix of vegetables, lean proteins like chicken or fish, legumes like nuts and beans, whole grains, and fruits. This will help your body keep a more regular blood-sugar level and this will help keep your overall feeling of vitality throughout the day. Foods with a low Glycemic Index score will be best for managing your blood-sugar level.
Check out my previous post on the glycemic index if you want to learn a little more about keeping an optimal blood-sugar level
Right mix of vitamins and minerals
In addition to managing your blood-sugar level, another important factor to think about is your daily intake of the right vitamins and minerals. Having the right mix of nutrients in your diet will help you feel more energized.
Specifically, B vitamins and Magnesium are linked to feeling energized, so make sure to get the proper amount of these nutrients.
Check out another one of my posts on getting the right mix of vitamins and minerals
Drinking enough water is so important! Our bodies rely on it for so many processes, and it can certainly play a part in helping you feel energized throughout the day. Not having enough water can make you feel sluggish and tired.
The general rule of thumb is to have eight glasses of water per day. This will vary depending on each person’s body weight and diet. Coffee, juices, and sodas will not hydrate you even though they contain water, so it’s essential to drink plain water throughout the day. In addition, fruits and veggies naturally contain water that will help keep you hydrated.
Click here for some more great intake-based energy management tips
Getting good sleep
Beyond diet, proper sleep is the most important factor to feeling energized. A proper night’s sleep should be 6-8 hours per night. The sooner you get to sleep, the better sleep you will have. Sleeping from 2am to 10am is not nearly as effective as sleeping from 10pm to 6am.As Ben Franklin famously said, early to bed, early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise!
Click here to read more about getting a great night of sleep from an earlier one of my posts
Get some sunlight and exercise
Believe it or not, getting some sunlight exposure will help your body better regulate its energy levels. Take a walk outside at lunch time and get some sun, fresh air, and a little exercise. This can be a serious help for preventing that afternoon lethargy.
If you have a desk job, getting up every hour or so and walking around, even for only a minute or so, will greatly help reduce the impact of sitting all day in addition to helping get your blood flowing and improving your energy level.
Eat right, Sleep Right, Get Moving
If you can keep in mind eating right, getting good sleep, and having a bit of exercise, you will greatly improve your energy level throughout the day. You won’t need to rely on endless cups of coffee (though coffee is still great!) if you can manage these energy factors. In addition, doing these steps will go a long way toward improving overall health, so it’s truly a win-win.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy December,