Try these simple tricks to feel more energised and less tired without reaching for coffee or sugary energy drinks, says New Body Plan editor Joe Warner
1. Step away from the high-sugar snacks
Next time you fancy a chocolate bar as an easy pick-me-up our advice is to step away from the vending machine. Then keep on walking for the next ten minutes. It’ll not only give you an energy boost, it’ll also have a positive effect on your waistline and it’ll reduce stress. According to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, when subjects ate a chocolate bar they experienced an energy boost one hour later but they also felt an increase in tension. Two hours after eating the snack, however, they reported an increase in both tiredness and tension. Those who opted to go for a short walk instead of eating the high-sugar snack experienced a reduction in tiredness and tension both one and two hours later.
2. Take some time outside
Now that you’ve turned your back on an easy sugar rush it’s time to embrace the great outdoors. According to University of Rochester researchers, simply being outside will give you an instant energy boost. They found that 20 minutes of blue sky time gave study participants more energy. So if you can turn your ten-minute walk into an outdoor stroll, you’ll get an even bigger benefit. If you’re trapped in a concrete jungle, don’t despair. A recent study in the journal Environmental Psychology found that interrupting a boring task with 40-second breaks to look at computerised images of a greenery improved subjects’ focus.
3. Slug back a quick pint
Of water, that is. That’s because one of the symptoms of dehydration is tiredness, according to The Journal Of Nutrition. In a recent survey from the Natural Hydration Council, just 4% of 300 GPs said they thought that their patents understood how much water they should be drinking. “Many of my patients do not drink enough fluid each day and only believe they are dehydrated when they start to feel thirsty,” said Dr Roger Henderson, who advises the Council. “Other symptoms of dehydration appear before this, including fatigue and tiredness, headaches and poor concentration.” So don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Keep a bottle of water with you and sip from it throughout the day.
4. Be more mindful
Learning some basic mindfulness techniques can give you a range of brain-boosting benefits as well as making you feel more energised, according to a study from the University of Waterloo. Researchers found that 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation per day can boost your energy levels as well as positively impacting the brain’s executive functions – cognitive abilities linked to goal-directed behaviour and the ability to control knee-jerk emotional responses, habitual thinking patterns and actions. To upgrade the benefit, try taking a yoga class that incorporates mindfulness with physical poses to give both your brain and your body a boost.
5. Get high without caffeine
If you want to get the positive effects of a caffeine hit without any of the negative side effects, then you need to swap your next espresso for a short bout of stair-walking. According to a study from the University of Georgia in the US, subjects who walked up and down some flights of stairs for ten minutes experienced a greater energy lift than those who consumed 50 milligrammes of caffeine (slightly less than is found in a typical shot of espresso). The stair group would also have burned about 100 calories, which would have a positive impact on their body composition so turning your next coffee break into an mini-workout will boost energy and burn fat.
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