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Last Updated on December 11, 2020

14 Simple Hacks to Increase Energy No Matter Your Age

14 Simple Hacks to Increase Energy No Matter Your Age

The human body is a bioenergetic system. Bioenergetics is a field in biochemistry and cell biology that relates to energy flow through living systems. The essence of bioenergetics is to determine how living organisms acquire and transform energy in order to perform biological activities, and it can help you learn how to increase energy, no matter your age.

Energy, at its core, is acquired by a number of means, from breathing, movement, consumption (food/water), exposure to sunlight, and more! In this article, I will focus on each of those areas to help you learn how to increase energy, no matter your age.

What Affects Energy Levels?

Our energy levels can be affected by a number of prevalent things in our society. Lack of sleep is one of the leading causes of lack of energy, and this is further aided by the fact that many gaze for hours on end at their devices and TV screens even after turning in for the night. I’m always surprised to hear that even some close friends of mine fall asleep many nights with the TV remaining on, or with a sleep-timer.

Unhealthy foods, including processed/refined sugars and even carbs can cause sleep problems. This is because refined sugars cause issues ranging from inflammation, to effects on cognitive function, and worst of all, to the well-known “crash” that comes after consuming refined sugar. Lack of hydration is right up there with sleep in terms of what most widely impacts people throughout the world.

14 Simple Energy Hacks That Work

Let’s get started finding ways to help you address your lack of energy. The methods that work for you are going to depend on what’s causing your lack of energy in the first place, so self-awareness is a good first step.

Rest and Recovery (Sleep)

Sleep is the most valuable activity for your body!

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1. Put Away the Devices

I suggest removing all devices from the bedroom, and not just your TV but your mobile devices, laptops, and tablets as well! The main reasons for this are to calm a busy mind before bed, to avoid the impacts of low-level EMF exposure, and to reduce blue light exposure (from devices) that can suppress the production of melatonin (sleep-inducing hormone).

2. Get Adequate Sleep

Falling asleep at a reasonable time (between 9 and 11 pm) is ideal to maintain healthy Circadian rhythms. These are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. They respond primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. When I was in my teens an early twenties, I used to stay up all night working or partying, and would ultimately go to sleep around 6 am, and it took a huge toll on my body and mind. Now let’s just say I’m lucky if I make it past midnight, and partying involves playtime with my Doberman.

3. Take Naps

Sleep experts have found that daytime naps can increase alertness, boost creativity, reduce stress, improve perception, stamina, motor skills and accuracy, enhance your sex life, aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of heart attack, brighten your mood, and boost memory![1] It’s a great quick-fix for increasing energy levels as it only requires 30 min to 1 hour.

Movement

Energy efficiently utilized begets more energy!

4. Get Your Heart Rate Up

Cardiovascular exercises, like walking, hiking, running, and dancing improve blood flow/circulation, boost immune function, and much more! The great thing about this energy hack is that your body operates like a rechargeable battery, and as you continue to walk and perform other activities, it will produce more energy and beneficial biochemicals in your brain and body.

5. Lift Weights

Aside from benefits to your heart, improving your balance, strengthening your bones, and helping you lose weight, strength training helps boost your metabolism (the rate your resting body burns calories throughout the day). When you do strength, weight, or resistance training, you stimulate the muscles (and central nervous system) and improve overall circulation. In turn, your body demands more energy based on how much energy you’re exerting (meaning the tougher you’re working, the more energy your body demands).

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Nutrition and Hydration

You are what you eat (or don’t)!

6. Drink More Water

Though this one seems like a no-brainer, many neglect hydration. Up to 60% of the adult body is water. The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.[2] What all is this means is that your body needs a constant flow of water in order to function at its best. So buy yourself a reusable bottle and keep it filled throughout the day!

7. Be Careful What You Eat Before Exercise

This is a tricky one, and you’ll need to be careful how you apply it. There’s quick digesting carbs and sugars such as bananas that work great for exercise, and as long as you work out soon after consumption, you’ll benefit from the energy boost. You may even see some bodybuilders or powerlifters eating candy and sugar sweets before a workout, and the same logic applies as it allows for rapid access to energy. Instead of candy, try eating fruit as there is a difference in terms of impacts on the body and long-term chronic inflammation.

8. Mind Your Gut

The gut is essentially the human body’s second brain, and most people do not treat it as such. The gut has close ties to all aspects of human physiology as it is connected to everything in some way, and that means correlation to energy levels. One very simple hack is to consume probiotics, such as natural Greek yogurt or kombucha.

Sunlight

Let the sun shine through!

9. Watch the Sunrise

Many meditation practices involve sun-gazing or watching the sun rise, and there’s a reason for this. As Molly Maloof, MD, puts it:[3]

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“The blue light that’s outside in the early morning gives you a natural energy boost, no caffeine required! Blue light turns off melatonin production and turns on wakefulness.”

It also sets your body’s circadian clock for the day, priming you for maximum efficiency — particularly when it comes to metabolism.

10. Get More Sunshine

Vitamin D is an excellent source of energy, among other things. Our body’s don’t just run on Vitamin D and sun exposure, they thrive on it! Vitamin D helps fight disease, depression, and boosts weight loss — need I say more?

Grounding

Staying grounded means more energy!

11. Go for a Barefoot Walk

Because the earth’s surface has a negative charge, it’s believed that you can absorb negative ions through your feet by walking on the ground barefoot[4]. Other sources of negative ions include beaches, forests, and ion bracelets.

12. Practice Meditation

This is an excellent way to replenish our energy reserves. Meditation acts to clear your mind of all the distractions and allows you to focus our energy where it’s best suited towards your greatest good.

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If you don’t have experience with meditation, this article can help you get started.

Forest Bathing: ‘Shinrin-Yoku’

Adopt the pace of nature.

13. Take a Nature Walk

Shinrin-Yoku, translated into English as “forest bathing,” means taking in the forest atmosphere during a leisurely walk. It is a therapy that was developed in Japan during the 1980s, becoming a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Research says Vitamin N (N, as in Nature) can boost your energy and improve your physical and mental health[5]. However, a recent study found that more than half of American adults spend 5 hours or less outside each week[6]. This disconnect with nature can lead to a drop in energy levels, but the good news is that it’s an easy fix — just get outside!

Creative Expression (Bonus)

Creativity brews energy!

14. Engage in Any Creative Activity

An effective way to generate more energy is to be creative! The best approach to this is to determine what makes you happy and allows you to express creativity. In practice, this one touches on the psychological aspect of self-actualization in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, as well as biochemical aspects that include the production of serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, and more. Creative expression also enhances memory and brain function and can reduce the risk of mental disease/disorders later in life.

Conclusion

This list may seem overwhelming at first if you haven’t adopted these approaches, but once you integrate them into your daily life, they will gradually become second nature. Analyze why you may be feeling a lack of energy and pick and choose which practices will help you generate and utilize energy better within your mind and body.

More Tips on How to Increase Energy

Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Adam Evans

BioHacker, competitive athlete, researcher in many fields including health and fitness, science, philosophy, metaphysics, religion.

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Published on May 13, 2021

How Physical Inactivity Affects Your Energy Levels

How Physical Inactivity Affects Your Energy Levels

We’ve all heard people say, “I’m too tired to exercise.” Perhaps, we also say this excuse ourselves when others ask why we don’t consistently engage in physical activities. According to The Heart Foundation, this is the number one reason given for physical inactivity.[1]

This is a paradox because we need the energy to exercise and yet, one major effect of physical inactivity is having depleted energy levels, which makes it extremely difficult to get moving in the first place. Oxygen is a key energy-producing fuel source, and lack of exercise limits oxygen supply to our brains and bodies, creating an energy slump.

So, how does physical inactivity affects our energy levels?

Low energy levels do more than just leave us feeling sluggish and unmotivated. The effects of physical inactivity set off a domino effect that topples our ability to focus, make smart decisions, manage our mood, build resilience against stress, and perform at our highest capacity—basically, all the fundamental pillars of maintaining optimal energy levels.

Left unchecked, this can lead to discontent in our own lives and create a ripple that impacts everyone around us.

There’s good news, though. You don’t have to suffer through hours at the gym, force yourself out of bed for a crack-of-dawn jog, or endure other such unpleasantries to shift this dynamic for yourself.

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Here are some of the ways the effects of physical inactivity play out in various areas of our lives and also some simple, painless activities to try that will enhance your energy levels.

1. The Relational Element

Do you ever feel drained of energy when you’re caught up in an argument with your partner or when your kid is having a meltdown? It’s like someone pulled the plug and every last drop of your life force is flushed down the tubes.

It turns out that a lack of physical activity could be a factor in this phenomenon. One study found that when people exercise, it creates a cascade of positive interactions with friends and family on the day of—as well as the day following—the activity.[2]

Better Together

These benefits are increased when we exercise with our loved ones. Next time you sense an impending family feud, take a timeout for some physical activity together. I remember many occasions when my own kids were toddlers, ditching our plans in a moment of frustration to go outside together quickly moved the day’s trajectory onto a more positive track, even if it was for just a few minutes. This still rings true today in their teen and preteen years. Though persuading them to change gears can require a bit more patience these days, it’s always well worth it!

Play a game of basketball or tennis. Bike around the block. Trek through your nearest trail or green space. Go critter spotting at a local park or in your own backyard. Not only can this tactic help diffuse a situation before it becomes volatile, but if you make it a habit, you’re also likely to notice an overall reduction in these energy-draining moments.

2. The Mental/Emotional Element

An estimated 40 million adults suffer anxiety disorders in the US alone.[3] When we are triggered by a threat, whether real or perceived, our brains pump out hormones to help us cope in what’s known as the “fight – flight – freeze” response. The aftermath can feel like a massive depletion of our energy.

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Sleep is an excellent method for recovering, but continuous anxious thoughts often make this difficult. Physical inactivity compounds this because it means we’re losing out on one of the most effective natural methods for regulating our sleeping patterns. Exercise also promotes mental clarity by effectively wiping our minds and bodies of the excess stress hormones instigated by anxiety.

Natural Regulators

It’s not only anxiety disorders that bungle our energy levels. Everyday stresses and mood fluctuations can make us feel like we’re stuck on an exhausting rollercoaster of emotion.

Physical inactivity contributes to the depletion of serotonin and dopamine—chemicals that help naturally regulate our mood and energy. Physical activity boosts these chemicals which enhances activity in the prefrontal cortex (the part of our brains responsible for higher-ordered thinking).[4] This process calms the limbic brain (our emotional headquarters), automatically shutting down energy-wasting emotional triggers.

3. The Intuitive/Spiritual Element

Exercise helps us grow our mind-body awareness while we learn to move out of our logical thought processes. The more we tune into our bodies and what they are telling us, the better we can tap into our inner knowing. We can stop using up our energy chasing after solutions or validation that comes from outside ourselves.

Our connectivity to the Universe or a higher power can be a catalyst for improving our energy levels as well. There are several approaches to enhance this through physical activity. Yoga and Tai Chi, for instance, are well-known spiritual practices used for centuries to connect mind, body, and spirit. From a Western perspective, they also help to create harmony between our needs for “achievement” energy and “restful” energy. Too much focus on either end of the spectrum can lead to burnout or depression.

A Powerful Combination

Meditation is another spiritual custom that is also a proven energy booster.[5] Unfortunately, sitting still and calming our minds can be a struggle, especially for people with anxiety issues.

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“Walking meditation” is one ritual that makes this easier while providing the powerful energy-boosting combination of both physical activity and intentional reflection. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley describes this as a “basic method for cultivating mindfulness . . ., which involves focusing closely on the physical experience of walking, paying attention to the specific components of each step.”[6]

Hiking in nature also counteracts physical inactivity while helping us reconnect with our spirituality by calling our attention to the wonders of the world beyond ourselves. Awe-inspiring experiences contribute to positive changes in mood, attitude, and behavior. This enhances our energy levels by freeing up our mental space from overthinking and negativity. We can trust in our own inner knowing and lean into the belief that the Universe always has our backs.

4. The Self-Mastery Element

How energetic do you feel when your inner critic is saying you’re “too weak,” “too old,” or “too broken” to achieve your greatest goals and live your full purpose in life? It drags you down, right?

When our brains believe these negative thoughts, it exhausts our energy levels, but fortunately, there is a simple method for counteracting these lies.

You guessed it—exercise.

Physical accomplishments change our self-perception and boost our feelings of empowerment and self-worth. The agility and flexibility gains we achieve through repetitive practice of HIIT (high-intensity interval training), martial arts, or metabolic conditioning sessions, for example, create neural patterns in our brains. This carries over and rewires our mind-body for grit, strength, coordination, and resilience in all areas of our lives. What could feel more energizing than knowing you are powerful and capable of overcoming any challenge that comes your way?

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Express Yourself

Our energy levels can also be improved through self-expressive activities (e.g., dance) by helping us unpack a mess of emotions that may be bogging us down. Reaping the rewards of physical activity doesn’t require us to be focused on appearance or weight. Just find something you enjoy and that makes you feel good to move your body, whether it’s a salsa class or a favorite sport, Pilates or Zumba, or just a stroll through the neighborhood.

We don’t have to jump in with the go-getter approach we tend to take with most endeavors either. We don’t even need to be what we would consider athletic, artistic, or dramatic. All that’s required is to take one step forward with a focus on personal progress. Remove the expectations, self-judgment, and comparisons, and watch yourself bloom.

5. Energy Beyond Exercise

Globally, one in four adults does not meet recommended levels of physical activity, according to WHO.[7] While it is important to understand the ramifications that inadequate exercise can have on our health and longevity, this is just one part of the equation. There is far more at stake here.

Modern living enables us to achieve most of our daily needs with the least amount of physical effort possible. Not only do we not exercise enough, but we also rarely move our bodies at all—except from couch to fridge or from the doorstep to the car.

Physical inactivity robs us of powerful elements that enrich our lives—deeper connections with ourselves, our loved ones, our inner peace, and the vastness of the Universe around us. Our ability to feel fulfilled and successful in life hinges on the link between movement and vitality. Simply put, physical inactivity dwindles our energy at every level.

Here is a breakdown to help you fit it into your schedule with ease: On each of 5 days per week, do 15 minutes of vigorous exercise (HIIT, jogging, metabolic conditioning, or fast swimming or biking) or 30 minutes of moderate exercise (brisk walking, dancing, hiking, tennis, or water aerobics). And remember, any form of movement is better than none.

More About the Importance of Physical Activity

Featured photo credit: Adrian Swancar via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Heart Foundation: The Top 10 Excuses for Not Exercising
[2] Science Direct: The cascade of positive events: Does exercise on a given day increase the frequency of additional positive events?
[3] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts and Statistics
[4] American Psychological Association: Working out boosts brain health
[5] NCBI: Meditation: Process and Effects
[6] Greater Good Science Center: Walking Meditation Practice
[7] World Health Organization: Physical activity fact sheet

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