Around 20% of adults worldwide experience low energy levels. Our sedentary lifestyle and stressful routine leave us easily fatigued and drained of all energy by the end of the day. These healthy habits and tips should help you strengthen both your mind and body and not only increase energy levels to sustain you through the daily grind but also achieve optimal health.
1. Breakfast- An instant energy booster
Breakfast- the first meal of the day- implies ‘breaking-fast’ 8-10 hours after consuming your last meal. A healthy breakfast replenishes your body with essential nutrients, which increase energy levels, improve metabolism, help manage blood sugar levels, and prevent overeating later in the day. For a healthy breakfast, consume protein and complex carbohydrate-rich foods like eggs, oats, paneer sandwiches, nuts, and seeds, among others.
2. Stay hydrated
Dehydration can lead to fatigue and dizziness and drain you of all energy, so consume at least 2 litres of water every day to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking adequate water increases energy levels, helps regulate the body’s temperature, ensures delivery of nutrients to all organs, lubricates joints, and boosts metabolism. Colour of urine is a common indicator that can be used to evaluate and modify daily water intake- light urine colour indicates adequate water intake, while dark colour indicates less consumption.
Besides water, other options which can help maintain our hydration level include coconut water, green tea or any other herbal tea, non-carbonated drinks, buttermilk, lemon water, etc.
3. Get enough exposure to sunlight
Sunlight boosts the production of serotonin, which improves mood, boosts energy, and improves focus. Inadequate exposure to sunlight can lead to low serotonin levels and consequently cause anxiety and low energy levels. Sunlight is also vital for regulating our circadian rhythm- the sleep and wake pattern, which our body follows throughout the day. Less exposure to sunlight lowers the production of melatonin or the sleep hormone. Inadequate sleep can cause fatigue the next day.
4. Physical activity and exercise
Physical activity, which includes exercise, helps increase energy levels in various ways. Exercise in any form such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, skipping, and yoga, increases the supply of oxygen to muscles and leads to improved cardiovascular and respiratory health, which helps increase endurance and boost energy levels. In the long run, regular exercise helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disorders, metabolic syndromes, rheumatoid arthritis, and neurological disorders. Exercise is equally important for mental health- it causes the release of endorphins or ‘feel-good’ hormones, which elevate mood, reduce stress, and keep one going throughout the day.
5. Nutritional supplements
When one is deficient in nutrients, they have to work harder to perform even basic tasks, which can lead to various health issues. Eating a wholesome diet should provide your body with the nutrients it needs. However, this is not possible for everyone at all times. Moreover, the Indian diet is deficient in proteins, which is where nutritional supplements can help in filling the gap.
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts also require supplements over and above their regular diet for enhancing their performance as well as for muscle synthesis and reducing recovery time. Recovery after a workout is extremely important as it allows the body to build muscle even as it replenishes and repairs itself.
Here are some essential supplements that can enhance performance and speed up your exercise routine.
Pre Workout Supplements:
Most pre-workout supplements are a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates, which provide either instant or steady energy release for improving performance during and after exercise. These are usually a combination of ingredients, including simple and complex carbohydrates, caffeine, electrolytes, essential vitamins, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, etc. Studies have shown that the consumption of carbohydrates before and after exercise improves performance by increasing glycogen and delaying fatigue. Protein consumption before exercise increases muscle synthesis and reduces recovery time. Protein supplements thus make excellent muscle fatigue recovery supplements.
Post Workout Supplements:
Athletes frequently use recovery supplements such as proteins and amino acids to maintain their health and maximise their athletic performance. These supplements help expedite muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness, inflammation, and oxidative stress, which are the usual fallouts of a an intensive workout.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs-Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine- are a class of essential amino acids (EAAs), which play a vital role in muscle protein synthesis and recovery, and reduce muscle breakdown and soreness. They can be obtained through both supplements and food.
The intake of protein/whey supplements after a workout can help repair muscle damage and soreness. Whey protein is a suitable protein, which is separated from milk during the cheese making process. Whey is a complete protein because it contains all essential amino acids. Whey protein benefits athletes since it helps in muscle growth and synthesis, reduces muscle recovery time, and consequently enhances athletic performance.
Ergogenic aids are substances or techniques that can be used to enhance the performance of athletes. They can be classified into four categories- nutritional, pharmacologic, physiologic, and psychologic. Physiologic aids include warm-up exercises, sports massages, correction of posture, and acupuncture therapies. Psychologic aids are techniques that support athletes' mental state, which include hypnosis, psychotherapy, imagery, relaxation, cheering, and yoga. Pharmacological aids like xanthines and amphetamines help improve concentration and reduce fatigue.