When you hit the wall, you know it’s going to be a horribly long day, an oppressively long week, and an impossibly long year ahead. If your habit is to grab a cup of coffee or a handful of candy as a pick-me-up in the middle of the day, it’s time for a New Year’s resolution that provides fast results. It’s time for a breakthrough in restoring energy to your day.
“I like coffee as much as the next guy,” said Advance ER emergency physician Brian King, M.D., “But I know it gives a false sense of energy. The crash that follows the caffeine is even worse than the tiredness that preceded it. Rather, we should see if we can incorporate more positive changes in our eating, sleeping and exercise habits to help beat the energy lows.”
Here are 7 tips from the medical experts at Advance ER to explode the energy barriers in your life:
Picking the right food is the easiest way to add energy to your day. Doubling up on fruits and veggies, switching to whole grains and making sure you have a lean protein are easy ways to start. Blueberries, apricots, nuts, chia seeds and cardamom are all energy-rich foods that incorporate quickly into a busy lifestyle. Don’t forget your gut microbes that help maintain your energy levels by keeping your body working well. Try eating plain yogurt or raw sauerkraut to add these good bacteria to your system.
Everything you do during the day—sitting, breathing, walking, talking—drains moisture from your body. Refilling with coffee is not helpful since it is a diuretic. A better option would be water with a little lemon in it to give you the hydration and the electrolytes your body craves.
Making a habit of getting up, stretching and moving each hour will keep you more refreshed and energized throughout the day. For a fast energy boost, put your hands on either side of a doorway and push your chest through to stretch out your torso and neck. “A 10-minute walk can help you stay more alert for the next two hours,” said Dr. King. “Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference.”
Nail the Tune-Up
Make sure your body is at its peak by getting a yearly physical. “I’ve seen patients with low energy levels who didn’t even realize that they were living with a critical thyroid condition,” said Dr. King. “If your thyroid is not functioning well or if your blood pressure is high, your energy level will definitely reflect it.” At Advance ER, you can walk in and have a full physical, complete with labs, in a matter of minutes. If a specialist is needed, our teleMED services offer a consultation at no additional office charge.
Grabbing a snack to ward off the energy slumps is a great idea, but it has to be the right kind of snack. High protein and complex carbs are ideal. Nuts, hummus and whole-grain crackers, low-fat cheese sticks, fresh fruit, celery and peanut butter are all filling choices to pump you up.
Volts from Vitamins
Mom was right—you do need to take your vitamins. Many people are low in Vitamin B which has a direct impact on energy levels. Women, especially, can be low in iron which can be supplemented with iron-rich foods such as lentils, spinach, broccoli, meat and eggs. Pair these foods with a Vitamin C choice and you’ve got faster absorption. Open up the shades and let some Vitamin D from the sunlight amp you up.
Just as it is critical to eat the right things, it is equally important to avoid the energy-sucking ingredients found in processed foods, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup and caffeine. “These things can give you emotional comfort, but in the end, you’re worse off for these choices,” said Dr. King. “A small treat now and then is fine, but moderation is key.”
Start your New Year off with a bang with these simple tips to bring back the energy that you’ve been missing in your day. At Advance ER, we’re here to help you as you seek the balance that your body craves. Open 24/7 in both of our locations, you can find the major and minor medical care that you need at the time and location that’s convenient for you.
Meet Dr. Brian King:
Brian King, M.D., is board-certified in emergency medicine and has two decades of experience in treating acute and minor medical conditions. Dr. King received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX. He completed his residency in emergency medicine at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.
With a focus on open communication, Dr. King believes in taking the time to listen to his patients to formulate a personalized treatment plan. Dr. King is an active member of the Dallas community and enjoys time spent outdoors and with his family.