Tips for more energy
Most of us know this problem, you have worked or studied and at the end of the day, you are exhausted. All your energy seems to have been used up for the rest of the week and you are wondering how you can pick yourself up because you still have a few days to go before the weekend starts.
Many of us then enter a kind of survival mode, which only leads to further energy loss and it seems that burnout is not far away if this continues.
We have researched several solutions there are to apply and see whether a turnaround can take place. You have to get more energy than the effort costs so find out which of these tips yields the most return for you. It is of course always possible to combine tips, which may give you a considerable energy boost.
Music and Dancing
Dancing and music lead to a reduction in stress. Stress actually causes your energy level to drop very quickly and hard to recover. Listening to music lowers blood pressure as well as the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which increases your energy level again (1). It is striking that by dancing to music the stress reduction is much faster and the battery is quickly recharged due to that extra energy. An additional advantage, according to this research, is that besides the stress reduction and recharging of your battery, your mood is also significantly improved, which is nice for yourself but also for the people around you.
By lowering the stress hormones through massage combined with aromatherapy, the body is very well able to recharge its battery. Getting an energy boost through ultimate relaxation is the best of both worlds for many people. The scents of the aromatherapy act as a catalyst during the massage. This ensures that the massage session can be relatively short and you can get back to what you were doing quickly (2).
A question that regularly pops up is: can I get more energy from gardening? The answer is yes. It lies in the fact that gardening has a positive effect on both lowering stress hormones as well as your mood after about 30 minutes. For the people with 'green fingers', this means that they quickly feel relaxed, energetic, and optimistic (2).
In general, gardening takes place outdoors, which also has the added benefit of optimal production of Vitamin D, a vitamin with an important role in the immune system. If the immune system does not function properly, this has a direct negative influence on your energy level and you are more vulnerable to disease(s). It should be noted that vitamin D is produced by the body under the influence of sunlight, so you will not benefit from this on a rainy day. Always remember that you make sure not to get a sunburn, as the body must first repair the burned skin, which costs a lot of energy (3).
By applying this regularly and integrating it into your lifestyle (for example with your own vegetable garden or a garden on your balcony), the energy boost is not short-lived, but you will benefit from it for years.
Walking and/or cycling
Outdoor activities such as walking and cycling offer great benefits in terms of stress reduction and energy recovery. Because this gentle exercise provides both physical and emotional relaxation, walking and cycling are real energy boosters (4).
However, a distinction can be made between these two activities, since walking (with rest en route) provides a shorter-term energy boost and will therefore have to be repeated more often (5).
When cycling, the effort is often greater, which raises the question: what gives energy when it costs so much energy? Cycling results in a faster reduction of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol in relation to walking, but also a better quality sleep is obtained, so that the overall energy level remains higher for a longer period of time. As indicated in this study, cycling can include cycling in the open air and, for example, mountain biking as well as being active indoors on the spinning bike. It goes without saying that the energy benefits as described here are not or might apply to a lesser extent when using an e-bike.
For people with a predominantly sedentary profession or who move less because of working from home, sports and/or exercise helps to reduce fatigue and stress. It is not immediately necessary to rage like a beast in the gym because even at a lower intensity if performed regularly, a lot of energy gains can be achieved. By exercising regularly, your cells burn more energy, and oxygen is moved through the body. This results in extra energy but also improved sleep quality, less fatigue, and an increase in mental toughness.
Probably not the most obvious tip, because how do you get more energy from dealing with animals? Things like physical training with animals, being outside and the interaction between humans and animals are so relaxing that you can get a lot of energy from it. Playing with pets is stress-reducing, but this also applies to riding or training horses, walking the dog, or even training birds of prey to protect aviation.
What do you get energy from when you rest or recover? The answer is: Sleep! Sleep ensures that we can recover from the efforts of the past day and build up reserves for the next day. If you don't sleep well, you don't rest well and you notice that in your energy.
The "exercise-relaxation" ratios of professional athletes are often between 1:3 and 1:5, so 3 to 5 times more rest than exercise. For people without a professional sports career, those ratios are completely different, namely more towards 1:1 or even 2:1, so more effort than relaxation. Dutch legend Joop Zoetemelk (former Tour de France winner of 1980) already stated at the time: “You win the Tour de France in bed”. The rest and recovery that takes place in bed give you the energy boost for the next day. If your ratio means that you hardly get to rest, sleep and recovery, this stands in the way of optimal energy management (7).
Many of the tips mentioned above, but also tips that will be discussed later, achieve the full result after a somewhat longer time. Caffeine chewing gum, also known as energy gum, is absorbed by the oral mucosa. This ensures that the effect will be noticeable faster. Therefore, for those for whom getting energy quickly is a must, an energy gum will provide a better solution (8).
This applies, for example, to people who have to work a little longer to meet important deadlines, work night shifts, drive long distances with full focus on the road, as well as long-study young people who benefit more from a quick energy boost.
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How do I get more energy from the food I eat and are there any supplements I should take to supplement my diet? Crucial here is the attitude towards yourself in everything you take in, am I filling or nourishing my body?
Nowadays, the nutritional value (and therefore energy!) in many (pre)packaged foods are significantly below the level of what you should ingest on a daily basis. The amounts of sugars, unhealthy sweeteners such as Aspartame/Acesulfame-K/Sucralose, flavor enhancers such as E621, and the lack of many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants make it difficult to put together a balanced diet (9).
You can also get all the important nutrients with a plant-based lifestyle. In many cases, you ingest even more healthy food with a plant-based diet! Plant products contain a lot more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than animal products. We will report more on this in the near future as this is a rapidly emerging lifestyle. However, nowadays it is not wrong to supplement your diet with a good multivitamin, and Ester-C, and some omega-3. With the latter, the liquid form (i.e., no gel capsules) is preferred. Finally, enough water completes the picture to prevent dehydration.
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Martin, L., Oepen, R., Bauer, K., Nottensteiner, A., Mergheim, K., Gruber, H., & Koch, S. C. (2018). Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Management and Prevention-A Systematic Review. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 8(2), 28. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8020028
Van Den Berg, A. E., & Custers, M. H. (2011). Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and affective restoration from stress. Journal of health psychology, 16(1), 3–11. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105310365577
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