5 Ways to Boost Energy Without Caffeine
Many of the folks here at Lumo will be the first to tell you that my love affair with coffee may steer on the unhealthy side. In fact, a concerned co-worker just sent me this Inc. article on 19 Horrible Things That Can Happen if You Drink Too Much Caffeine. In my defense though, as somebody who works the regular 9 to 5 and then some, coffee is as much about pleasure as it is about utility—I need it to get through the day. Do I sound like an addict yet?
Addicted or not, my bet is I’m not alone. The United States consumes about 400 million cups of coffee every day, and 3.1 cups of coffee per person. Though coffee alone has several benefits of daily consumption, add in the cream and sugar many of us use and it makes for an unhealthy habit to maintain.
Thus, tried and tested, here are my top 5 tips on boosting energy without going for your second (or in my case third and sometimes a fourth) cup of coffee.
1. Hit the gym in the morning
If you have the will-power to wake up early, try hitting up your gym in the morning rather than in the afternoon or late at night. Getting your sweat on pre-work raises body temperature and can help you focus, boost energy levels and improve your mood for hours after your actual workout. Some research even suggests that early morning workouts can help achieve better quality sleep and reduce blood pressure.
2. Eat smarter
I’m a repeat offender of cutting out breakfast, despite knowing that it’s the most important meal of the day. Turns out, it’s as much when you eat your meals as it is what you’re eating that gives you that boost in energy. According to experts, the best energy boosting foods out there are packed with protein for long lasting energy.
My favorite? Peanut butter and sliced bananas on an toasted english muffin, or scrambled eggs with a side of whole wheat pita bread. Try incorporating these energy boosting food items for your next breakfast and mid-day snack.
3. Move more
Reaching for your next cup of coffee? Trade in your craving for a refreshing walk around the block.
The logic is similar to working out in the morning—getting your body moving raises body temperature and releases endorphins for a lift in mood and energy. The surge of endorphins won’t be as much as a full-blown workout, but it’ll be enough to wake you up from your post-lunch food comatose. It’s also a great way to catch some sunlight and get some fresh air to clear your mind, too.(read: improved productivity).
4. Replace the habit
If you’re anything like me, sometimes we reach for the coffee pot out of habit and not actual need. A neat trick a co-worker taught me is switching to decaf mid-day so that I still get to enjoy my cup of coffee without overloading on the unnecessary caffeine. There’s an added bonus too: cutting down on overall caffeine intake can help lower tolerance to it. Meaning, when you do drink coffee, you’ll actually be able to feel the effects of it again.
5. Sit up straighter
This one is a company favorite: sitting up straighter. Studies have shown that improving your posture can actually help achieve increased productivity and energy, whereas slouching in front of your computer leads to feeling sluggish, tired and even sad. Amy Cuddy, in her TED Talk also explains that adopting a tall, open posture releases chemicals in your brain that help you feel more energetic, confident and powerful. Next time you’re feeling tired and sluggish in the afternoon, try paying attention to your posture and straightening up. Your work and body will thank you later.