How to gain energy without relying on caffeine and energy drinks
The end of the school year nears – tests, projects and papers are piling up as teachers rush through the rest of the assigned curriculum. Late nights follow as you sit behind a computer screen striving to accomplish each task by its assigned due date. Morning arises and you can count the hours of sleep you received on one hand. On the way out the door, you pour yourself a cup of Mom and Dad’s coffee, grab an energy drink for the afternoon and a couple dollars to hit up the vending machine for a soda or candy bar between practice and meeting your history group project team members.
It’s easy to rely on caffeine for a quick pick-me-up because it’s available, cheap, seems quickly effective and frankly, it’s the trendy thing to do. But, is it really giving you the results you need and want? No, in fact it may be harming you more than helping. During this stressful time of year, what can you do to gain necessary energy and brainpower without falling into the caffeine-guzzling trap?
Do some intense exercise.
Numerous studies demonstrate the power of vigorous exercise in boosting energy. Go for a speedy bike ride, take a brisk walk or hold foot-races with your friends or siblings. Exercise pumps more oxygen – pure, healthy fuel — into the bloodstream and to the brain and muscles for a short-term energy boost. Exercising regularly will increase lung capacity. Therefore, the body will receive more oxygen on a sustained level for the long term. Exercise also releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemical, which makes us feel happy. And happy people are energized people.
Seek nutrition from a variety of sources.
As humans, we need more than 40 different vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies functioning optimally. Since there’s no single food that contains them all, it’s important to eat a variety. Include as many different vegetables and fruits as possible.
Drink plenty of water – the natural energy drink.
Even mild dehydration can leave you feeling listless, so make a habit of drinking plenty of water. Instead of grabbing that energy drink or cash for the vending machine, grab a cute water bottle and fill it up at the drinking fountain throughout the day. When you’re active, you need more water so listen to your body to determine when you are truly thirsty. A quick, light pinch of the skin on your hand or arm is an easy check to determine if you’re dehydrated. If your skin is slow to resume a smooth appearance, then you’re likely at least mildly dehydrated.
Anxiety, hypertension, elevated heart rates, interrupted sleep patterns and headaches are just some of the side effects commonly associated with energy drinks. These problems are more pronounced in younger individuals, according to a recent University of Miami study. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These drinks have also been linked to heart palpitations, strokes and sudden death.
The term “energy” drink is an unfortunate misnomer, says food science expert Budge Collinson, creator of Youth Infusion, an effervescent, natural multivitamin beverage that helps people maintain consistent and healthy higher energy levels. Energy drinks don’t give your body energy; they stimulate you with brief jolts of caffeine and unregulated herbal stimulants. “For a few moments, you’ll get that spike, but it’s a short-term experience with a heavy long-term toll,” Collinson says. Vitamins and minerals are safer and more effective than artificial stimulants. Utilize the natural resources of God’s world rather than unnatural stimulants to make it through this busy time of year. We’re praying for you, and would love to know about specific projects, tests and burdens you bare this time of year. Shoot us an email, message us on Facebook or #niNeprayerquest.