Energy drinks can be dangerous and addictive, according to an archived article on WebMD, but there are ways to have long-lasting energy, without resorting to energy drinks. All-natural, long-term energy solutions.
My daughter, when she was sixteen years old, started using energy drinks. It was all the rage for the teens at her school to carry a can or bottle of some fancy drink that contained excesses of caffeine and other herbal stimulants. These drinks aren’t controlled by the FDA, but maybe they should be. She became so addicted to these drinks that she was spending, easily, $10 per day and getting cranky and irritable when she couldn’t have them-and that’s a lot of money for a teenager to spend daily.
What’s worse is, they eventually weren’t providing her the energy she needed, yet she couldn’t stop drinking them without feeling lousy. I stepped in and forbid the drinks, and put a close watch on her money for a while. It was a scary time for a mom, who had prepared for her kids being exposed to drugs, but I had never had considered the risks of something anyone can buy from Starbucks or the local convenience store shelf.
Look, there’s not a single person amongst us who hasn’t had the afternoon doldrums at some point in life. We all have ‘hit the wall’ by three in the afternoon at some point, where our heads nod and our eyes are heavy and we have to get up from our desks or job and walk around, get some coffee, yawn and stretch, at some point.
If this has happened to you, then let’s look at some ways to keep yourself awake and alert with feelings of energy all throughout the day, without the energy drinks that can be so dangerous.
Those who like coffee truly believe that coffee-or the caffeine it contains-provides an energy boost. Perhaps it did, the first few times someone drinks it, but after that, the boost is mostly in the mind. For a more lasting energy, a light protein breakfast, a protein drink or even just a glass of apple juice will wake you up better and last longer than caffeine.
Another way to boost your energy in the morning is to wake prior to the time you need to rush out the door and actually take the time to take a brisk walk around the block. Step outside, stretch your legs, take a brisk walk, then come home and hop into a cool shower. These activities will get your metabolism roaring, along with the breakfast ideas mentioned above, and get you off on a good start.
Protein, again, is your best bet for energy, but a big hunk of steak or chicken is probably going to make you sleepy, just from being full. So other protein sources are probably a better bet. These include nuts, a couple of hard or soft boiled eggs, or a small amount of tuna or chicken salad. Something light, but full of protein.
Spicy foods help boost metabolism, so anything spicy can help wake you up and give you an afternoon perk. Wasabi peas or wasabi green beans, hot and spicy nuts give protein and spice, a little salsa as the dressing on a salad, or if you can stomach it try some peppers. Hot peppers boost metabolism and will definitely wake up your mouth, while keeping you more alert than a bigger lunch or any amount of caffeine or sugar.
Afternoon activity helps keep that head from nodding too. Take a fast walk to the break room, or stand and jog in place for a few seconds, walk around the hallways for a moment, or simply stand up from your desk and stretch several times. Whether at the office or at home, don’t sit for more than an hour without getting up and moving around, particularly stretching the legs.
If you’re looking for a boost in the evening, a little light aerobic exercise can keep you going throughout the evening, and surprisingly, will help you sleep better too, unlike caffeine or stimulants that will keep you up or jittery all night. Also, eat a light meal for dinner. Heavy meals will make you feel sluggish and lethargic, and you won’t be finished digesting by bedtime, which interferes with quality sleep.
The best bets for lasting energy are light, healthy protein boosts throughout the day with light physical activity to keep the metabolism boosted-you’ll burn fat all day, keeping your weight manageable-or even lose weight if you need it-and you’ll be healthier and feel better too.