Everyone is familiar with all-out energy drain -- that exhausted day (or
night) when no matter how enticing that new movie, fabulous shoe sale, or
friendly barbecue, we just can't psych ourselves up to go.
What can be harder to recognize is a low-grade energy drain. In this case,
you may not necessarily feel the classic signs of exhaustion -- like achy
muscles or that all-over tired feeling. What you do experience is an increasing
lack of get-up-and-go for many of the activities you used to love.
"You may also find it harder to concentrate on tasks, and, eventually, you
can also find your patience grows short and your level of frustration rises,
even when confronted with seemingly simple challenges," says New York
University nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD.
If this is starting to sound familiar, take heart. Energy zappers are all
around us, some obvious, some hidden. The good news: There is a way around
almost all of them.
To this end, we asked health experts to help compile this list of the top 10
energy boosters. Try one, two, or all 10, and you're bound to see your energy
Eating a balanced diet can help ensure
your vitamin and mineral needs are met. But if you still find yourself too
pooped to pop, you could have a slight magnesium deficiency, Heller says.
"This mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body,
including breaking down glucose into energy," Heller says. "So when levels are
even a little low, energy can drop."
In a study done at the Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in
Grand Forks, N.D., women with magnesium deficiencies had higher heart rates and
required more oxygen to do physical tasks than they did after their magnesium
levels were restored. In essence, their bodies were working harder which, over
time, says Heller, can leave you feeling depleted.
The recommended daily intake of magnesium is around 300 milligrams for women
and 350 milligrams for men. To make sure you're getting enough, Heller
Add a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or cashews to your daily diet.
Increase your intake of whole grains, particularly bran cereal.
Eat more fish, especially halibut.
2. Walk Around the Block
While it may seem as if moving about when you feel exhausted is the quickest
route to feeling more exhausted, the opposite is true. Experts say that
activity -- particularly walking
-- increases energy.
"I like walking because it's accessible, easy to do, doesn't need training
or equipment and you can do it anywhere," says Rita Redberg, MD, science
advisor to the American Heart Association's "Choose To Move" program.
In experiments conducted by Robert Thayer, PhD, at California State
University, a brisk 10-minute walk not only increased energy, but the effects
lasted up to two hours. And when the daily 10-minute walks continued for three
weeks, overall energy levels and mood were lifted.