Ways to Improve Your Energy

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, MS, DO on October 27, 2017
3 min read

You want more power for your morning workout, an afternoon lift during a long workday, or a boost while you cheer your kids on the soccer field. Will a supplement do that?

Some may make a difference. But it’s best to talk with your doctor first. They can see if it’s OK for you to take.

It revs up your metabolism and makes you feel like you have more physical and mental energy. If you just want a slight pick-me-up, Kathi Kemper, MD, director of the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness at Ohio State University, recommends caffeine from natural sources, such as a cup of coffee or tea, rather than supplements.

This herb contains caffeine. Some studies show that it can help young adults with mental strain. But if you already get caffeine from other sources, such as coffee, be careful not to overdo it, as it can disturb your sleep. In higher doses, it can cause more serious problems such as anxiety and heart rhythm issues.

It may improve mood and energy. You can try it, but keep your expectations in check. Kemper notes that because it’s a relatively expensive herb, some products don’t contain much ginseng and instead have more filler ingredients.

“Your internal energy factories just don’t work as well without it,” Kemper says.

If you already take a multivitamin, you probably already get the recommended daily dose, so you don’t need an extra supplement. And unless you are low on B12, science doesn’t show it will give you an extra boost.

Are you vegan (you eat no meat, dairy, or other animal products)? Then you may need B12 supplements, because only animal foods have vitamin B12 naturally.

Your cells need this antioxidant to make energy. It’s harmless, but there is no strong evidence that it curbs fatigue, Kemper says.

“Technically, energy comes from calories,” Kemper says. So you might want to have a healthy snack, like almonds and fruit, or yogurt with granola.

It’s also a good idea to drink something, because we often feel tired when we’re actually thirsty. A glass or two of water can make a big difference in energy if you’re low on fluids.

You can also bump up your energy level with everyday habits, like “getting enough sleep, and good sleep,” Kemper says.  On average, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.

Being active also revs you up. It all counts -- even a 10-minute dance party with your kids, or a pass at your garden, or a few yoga poses before bed. Research shows that adults who fit in as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day felt less fatigued. Most adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. But check with your doctor first if you have health problems or have been inactive.

Also, work on whittling down your stress. It will zap your energy fast. All the other good things you can do for yourself, like sleep and exercise, will tame it and get your get-up-and-go back in gear.