With the temperatures reaching record numbers lately, it can be a challenge to get out and do much of anything. Most of us would rather curl up in a dark, air-conditioned room than spend time under the blazing sun outside.
But what if it’s not just the heat that’s making you tired? What if a lack of energy has been a struggle for you for more than the last few months? If so, know that you’re not alone. Millions of Americans feel the same way. That’s why we at Life Priority want to offer a few tips on how to increase your get-up-and-go even when the heat is on!
First, it’s a good idea to examine what may be zapping your energy. Common culprits include lack of sleep, an unbalanced diet, lack of exercise, not enough sunlight, dehydration and, of course, outside forces like cell phones and technology. On top of that, you may be experiencing high stress levels from work or family or have undiagnosed health issues such as anemia, hyperthyroid or low blood sugar. To be completely sure, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get a thorough exam.
While your doctor may discover an internal cause for your lethargy (which is why it’s important to get checked out), there’s a good chance that your energy level could be enhanced simply by incorporating a few changes into your lifestyle.
To start, take a look at your diet. Are you consuming a lot of processed, sugary snacks and beverages? Sugar can cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, leaving you tired and foggy. Instead of cookies, candy or potato chips, try snacking on fruits or nuts. The protein in nuts sustains you longer than refined sugar, and fruits such as bananas have helpful nutrients like potassium, which converts blood sugar into energy.
Next, get moving! Exercise stimulates blood flow and prevents all kinds of diseases and health problems. It also helps your mentality by releasing feel-good hormones into your body and helps you sleep better at night, which gives you more energy during the day. It doesn’t take much—just 30 minutes a day 3-5 times a week–to feel the effects. Plus, getting out and moving also allows you to unplug from the world and just enjoy nature. (Though, with these temperatures, it might be good to enjoy that nature early in the morning while it’s still tolerable.)
Beyond diet and exercise, it is also important to get enough sleep. Most Americans are underslept, falling far short of the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night. This not only decreases energy, but also facilitates diseases and other health issues. Set an alarm in your home to help you remember to head to bed at a time that allows you to get the recommended total of shut-eye. Yes, it will take discipline, but your body will thank you!
With the big three of diet, exercise and sleep being covered, there are also a few other tricks you can try when it comes to increasing your energy. For instance, try popping a mint or chewing a minty gum. The scent ups alertness by stimulating your trigeminal nerve, which is the same nerve that’s activated by smelling salts. Or, consider drinking a cup of green tea. It contains theanine, which calms you while leaving your mind clear. Finally, if possible, take a power nap. According to Harvard research, 30-minute midday naps prevent energy from flagging further, while hour-long naps actually boost energy and performance. And, if all else fails, take the advice of Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., the medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and massage your ears. A quick 30-second rub stimulates energizing acupuncture points that give you a quick mental boost.
We Americans are so busy that we don’t often prioritize the things that give us life and vitality. However, if we want to regain our strength and be able to enjoy our day-to-day, we need to start treating our bodies with care and giving them what they need. So, take our advice and get serious about regaining your energy. Talk to your doctor and start incorporating healthy habits into your routine. Then, enjoy the boost of life and joy that comes your way!