As we get older, we find our bodies start to naturally slow down. Staying up all night or getting less than 8 hours of sleep a night used to be no problem when we were in our twenties. Yet, our metabolisms slow as we age, work demands zap more of our brain power, and we find it takes a little more focus and effort to remain fully alert all day long. Here is a guide to naturally elevating your energy levels to feel better from sunrise to sunset.
First thing in the morning, you need a balanced breakfast to boost your blood sugar levels, you’re your metabolism out of slumber and start burning calories. Ideally, you’ll combine protein with a heart-healthy slow-digesting carb like peanut butter on whole-grain toast. Another option is smoked salmon and scrambled egg to decrease inflammation and prevent energy crash. The soluble fiber in oatmeal keeps blood sugar levels stable so energy levels remain constant. A whole grain bagel and glass of orange juice will give you immediate B vitamins to encourage the body to convert protein and carbs into energy. A cup of coffee can also improve mental alertness.
Before your energy level starts to dwindle, add a little exercise to your morning. Just thirty minutes of interval strength training can boost your metabolic rate for up to 38 hours. You can also do a couple push-ups, dumbbell lifts, planking, squats and lunges to get you going. For a snack around this time, chow down on low-fat cheese, yogurt, a handful of nuts, a banana, strawberries, a berry smoothie or a high-protein cereal bar. Be sure to drink your water, which will prevent fatigue.
If you’re on the run and you need to grab something while you’re out, you can try healthy menu options from local restaurant chains. For instance, the BK Veggie Burger, Quiznos Tuscan Turkey Sub, or Qdoba Naked Chicken Taco Salad all contain ingredients that help fight fatigue. Also, when you’re back at the office, sniff a little peppermint or use a body lotion that will perk you up. Taking a brisk 10 minute walk in the afternoon is a great way to stimulate a surge of energy that lasts up to two hours. If you’re feeling really zoned out, you may want to try a 20-minute power nap during your lunch break to improve alertness.
When you get home, there’s no better way to wake up the body than through the stretching and breathing movements associated with vinyasa yoga. Listening to fast songs can also perk up the mind.
For dinner, you’ll want to combine protein, good carbs and fiber to beat feeling anemic. For this reason, black beans are the perfect choice. You can whip up black bean chili in your crockpot while you’re at work to come home to a tasty and low-fat dinner.
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