Put a spring in your step the natural way with our six healthy (and super easy-to-implement) lifestyle changes.
Make breakfast count. Don’t even think about skipping your morning meal, say nutritional experts. But do forgo the sugary cereals and toasted white bread. Instead, make sure your first choice of the day is a healthy one by including protein-rich foods, such as scrambled eggs or Greek yogurt, and whole-grain cereals or breads. Throw in some fresh fruit and a handful of nuts and you’re on your way to a more energized day.
Get moving now. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults get 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Even moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk or bike ride, can get your blood flowing and your motivation up. If a half hour seems like an impossibility given your busy schedule, break it up into three 10-minute sessions per day. Taking the stairs, heading out for a quick walk on your lunch break, even lifting hand weights while you watch TV, all count—and the benefits and results are the same as a full-on workout.
Eat right. Be mindful not to skip meals, which can lead to overeating later, and keep portions small, particularly at lunchtime, when consuming too many calories can zap late-afternoon alertness. The occasional splurge is fine and even recommended (hello wine and sugary treats), but it’s best to stick to a balanced diet of lean proteins and unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa, as well as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, to keep energy levels high.
Don’t skimp on sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours of shut-eye to feel their best. If you’re not getting the rest you need, try rolling back your tuck-in time by 10 minutes every few nights until you reach your goal. And bear in mind that it’s not just the quantity but the quality of sleep that counts: Turn off all electronic devices, make sure your room is cool and dark, and set the stage for a great night’s sleep by getting your sheets and pajamas silky soft with a liquid fabric softener.
Drink up! Guess what’s the fastest, simplest way to feel energized? Water. Experts recommend that adults throw back at least eight 8-ounce glasses of H2O daily. Find yourself forgetting? Place a sticky note on the fridge or your computer screen. And remember: Although coffee, energy drinks, and carbonated sodas may give you a quick energy boost, after a couple of hours you may end up feeling more tired than before.
Easy does it. Don’t discount stress: Worrying can sap your energy fast. Experts recommend meditation, walking, yoga, and confiding in friends when your problems seem overwhelming. If you’re feeling overworked, prioritizing can help. Make a list of what needs to be done, and then tackle the most pressing chores or assignments first. And delegate, delegate, delegate whenever possible. Volunteering can help take your mind off your worries too, as can having a good laugh—so skip the dramas and go straight for the comedies.