Do you ever watch a group of kids at play and wonder where they get all that energy? If you were able to bottle all that vim and vigor, you would make a fortune selling this elixir at offices in early afternoons or at the juice bar in the local fitness center.

Fitness couple jumping happy at sunset with the sun in the background

You are not alone when you get that sagging feeling in the early afternoon, or when you just don’t have quite enough oomph to finish your exercise routine.

There has been a proliferation of energy drinks and “healthy” granola bars in the market, as the solution to replenishing that empty fuel tank.

However, most of these highly sweetened liquids and foods use sugars to give your body a quick energy boost. The catch is, not only do you exhaust the sugar-supplied energy very quickly; it also slows your metabolism down and can further hinder you’re the progress towards your fitness goals.

The good news is, there are a number of other things that you can do to increase your energy levels…naturally. Some of it has to do with shift in dietary habits, while others involve lifestyle changes, and then there are exercises that immensely help fill up your energy reserves.

Dietary Energy Boosters

Reduce your sugar consumption
Sugar causes energy fluctuations that contribute to fatigue. Eat foods and snacks that are high in protein and good, complex carbohydrates, the source of energy.

Increase your iron intake
An iron deficiency is responsible for much of the chronic fatigue. Eat foods that are high in iron and take a good, natural iron supplement.

Drink lots of water
A dehydrated body tires easily, so stay hydrated with frequent glasses of water.

Eat smaller and frequent meals
Large meals, particularly lunch, will contribute to that groggy feeling in the early afternoon. More frequent meals stabilize insulin levels and keep your metabolism up throughout the day.

Eat brain food
Consume healthy fats like those in fish and green leafy vegetables to boost your brain function and provide energy.

Eat healthy snacks
A snack of protein, complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables will keep your blood sugars at a consistent level all day long. Protein combats fatigue and builds muscle mass to appear toned.

Whole grains take longer for your system to metabolize and give a steady supply of energy, not the quick, short-lived burst that sugars supply.

Enjoy your cup of coffee but don’t over do it. The initial rush from caffeine is not long-lasting and will leave you fatigued and dehydrated.

Eat lots of fiber
Fiber promotes satiety and the slow release of sugar will give you sustained energy throughout the day.

Lifestyle Changes for An Energy Boost

Practice deep breathing
Breathing with your abdominal muscles will increase your oxygen intake to improve your lung capacity and increase overall stamina overtime.

Start your day with a big breakfast
Your body needs a jump-start in the morning and a good, well-balanced breakfast rich in protein and complex carbohydrates is the best way to start the day and feel fresh for a long time.

Stop smoking
Smoking depletes oxygen and in turn reduces stamina to leave you feeling fatigued.

Sleep with the sun
Sleep hormones are linked to natural light. Going to sleep early helps you awaken naturally without requiring an alarm.  If it is still light outside, create the illusion of darkness by using heavy curtains to block off sunlight and streetlights, switching off laptops, cell phones and other gadgets to prepare your body for a restful night of sleep.

Read before going to bed
Establish a sleep ritual like reading before retiring. It helps block out other noise in your mind and helps you fall asleep faster.

Avoid sleeping with pets
Pets on your bed will disturb your sleep if you keep bumping into them. So get the dog and cat to sleep in their own beds. That way everyone wakes up feeling fresh.

Exercises That Provide Energy Boost

Get up and stretch
It is important to take a break to stretch from sitting down for too long to maintain a good blood flow to your body and brain. Stretch your body out will keep you from sagging into lethargy and bad posture.

Have a short morning workout routine
This will shake off your sleepiness, rev up your metabolism and get your blood flowing for most of the day.

Play competitive sports
Playing a sport requires thinking and will spark your mental energy. Desire to win and winning provides adrenaline rush to keep you feeling youthful.

Go for a brisk, short walk after a big meal. It will aid digestion and avoid feeling bloated.

Try doing the following to beat drowsiness. Remove your watch, and stand straight. Extend your right arm slightly, palm down. With your left hand, rub the right arm firmly from wrist to shoulder. Rotate palm upwards, and rub firmly from shoulder to wrist.

Repeat this until ten repetitions are completed. Reverse and rub the left arm with the right hand.

Stand straight with feet slightly spread. Raise your hands to shoulder height, elbows bent at 90 degrees, palms facing down. Start shaking your hands very fast with your wrists relaxed. Do this for a count to 100.

All of the above will help restore your energy and awaken you.

Puja Mukherjee, is a certified fitness trainer, who woke up one morning to drop everything in the pursuit of her passion for fitness. She says the best part about her job is to liberate her clients from their preconceived notions about fitness and see them be dazzled. Follow her at www.getmeanmuscle.com.

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