There are a lot of tips and tricks that are meant to help you increase your energy, from eating the right nutrients to incorporating energizing supplements into your daily routine. But unfortunately, these habits can take some time to deliver the motivation, productivity and “awake” level of energy you’re looking for. Fortunately, they aren’t the only solutions; there are certain energy-revving biohacks you can use when you’re feeling sleepy and sluggish, and they’ll get you alert and focused in no time.
We’ve got easy – and, to be honest, kind of brilliant – biohacks that’ll raise your energy levels quickly. From HIIT workouts to autophagy to mitochondrial manipulation and beyond, these 6 science-backed ways to hack your system will boost your energy. And you can try them right now.
1. HIIT it
For sustained stamina, you don’t have to spend grueling hours in the gym. Instead, try HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, which alternates short bursts of powerful movement with low-intensity exercise or rest. HIIT revs up the metabolism, boosts blood flow and enhances the ability of muscles to use oxygen, and studies show regular HIIT regimens measurably increase strength, power and endurance.
For an immediate energy fix, start the day with HIIT. These super-short workouts fit into even the most hectic morning schedules, and exercising first thing means you’re less likely to skip it later when you’re racing to make dinner or worn out from your day.
Here’s how to do it. You can energize your day with simple, streamlined routines under 10 minutes (and with no equipment needed). Try jumping jacks, pushups, reverse lunges, burpees or forearm planks. Do each movement at max capacity for 40 seconds, then rest for 40 seconds. Repeat the whole sequence five times, or mix up workouts to keep it engaging.
2. Activate autophagy
Derived from the ancient Greek meaning “self-eating,” autophagy is the body’s way of clearing out debris – it’s like an internal, ongoing detox. Old, damaged or flawed cells are destroyed or recycled and newer, healthier ones are regenerated, improving cellular metabolism and enhancing energy production. Dozens of studies suggest intermittent fasting safely and effectively triggers this process; the stress induced starving shifts the body into survive-and-repair mode, urging cells to clear out dysfunctional parts and optimize efficiency.
To activate autophagy and boost your energy, stop eating at 8 p.m. and don’t eat again until noon the next day. Research shows 16 hours sans food safely stimulates cellular regeneration.
Don’t want to fast? There are other ways to fire up autophagy and get more energy. Ultra-low-carb diets, caloric restriction, vigorous exercise and supplements – like chaga, sulforaphane, resveratrol, hydroxycitrate and berberine – can mimic the effects of fasting and encourage similar cell turnover.
3. Get outside on the reg
Most of us spend about 90 percent of our lives inside – and boxed-in living seriously saps your stamina. Artificial lighting and fluorescent bulbs disrupt cortisol, ramping up stress and fueling fatigue, while blue light from your most-used devices interferes with sleep-wake cycles and restful slumber.
Natural, full-spectrum light from the sun, on the other hand, normalizes circadian rhythms. This helps the body’s internal clock stay on track, and it also influences energy levels throughout the day. Exposure to sunlight is shown to boost vitality and mood, and research suggests connecting with nature elevates energy and offsets fatigue.
So, clear the cobwebs and sharpen your mental stamina by heading outside daily. Take a brisk walk in the park, gaze at the trees and simply soak up the sun (even if it’s minimal!). Even better, go barefoot while you’re outdoors. Research suggests direct contact with electrons teeming on the earth’s surface restores your disrupted electrical balance, resets internal systems and improves cellular energy production.
4. Sweat to the max…
Environmental toxins like molds, pesticides, heavy metals and parabens build up in the body over time, and they interfere with cellular function, feeding inflammation and draining your energy. Sweating escorts these toxins from the body via the skin. In fact, in some studies, intense heat and perspiration measurably increased excretion of heavy metals like lead and mercury, as well as PCBs and other stubborn chemicals that accumulate in tissues and resist elimination.
Vigorous workouts encourage perspiration and can help get rid of those toxins. A sweaty exercise sesh can also stimulate circulation, boost lymph flow and burn fat – the body’s primary warehouse for toxins. Amplify your sweaty endeavors and spend some time in steam rooms and saunas. This will dilate blood vessels, promote circulation and speed the removal of stamina-sapping toxins. Plus, as an added bonus, studies link repeated sauna use with improved endurance and energy.
5. …then take a really cold shower
After a sweaty sauna or steam session, a blast of icy water is just what you need. Stepping into a super cold shower amps up circulation, escalates your metabolism and instantly invigorates you from head to toe. The shock of cold stimulates sympathetic nervous system activity, prompting the body’s fight-or-flight response and triggering a surge of endorphins and other brain chemicals associated with alertness, clarity and vitality. Plus, research suggests extreme cold exposure also dampens inflammation, enhances cellular function and slows aging.
No, you don’t have to suffer through a freezing-cold shower every day. Here’s how to get the benefits and stay comfortable: When you’ve finished showering, turn the water to cold for one minute, or as long as you can handle it. Or, plunge your hands or face into ice water; start with a minute or two, and gradually increase the time. Even splashing icy water on your face for just a few seconds can provoke similar results.
6. Hack your mitochondria
The mitochondria are called the powerhouse of the cell for good reason. They’re the ultimate starting point for energy production – so keeping your mitochondria healthy and happy means you’ll get more stamina and youthful vitality. These tiny generating plants manufacture energy as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a usable form that fuels all your activities.
And if they’re not operating at full capacity, you’ll feel the impact. Mitochondria are extremely vulnerable to free-radical damage and the effects of time, declining in number and efficiency over time, depleting stamina and accelerating aging. You need to protect your powerhouses with science-backed strategies proven to work.
One way to keep your mitochondria at their best is to minimize toxins – research shows environmental chemicals injure mitochondria and impair their function. Other studies suggest near-infrared saunas can stimulate DNA repair, offset mitochondrial damage and optimize their output. And you can add supplements shown to enhance cellular energy into your diet, too. Some of the best are glutathione, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, creatine and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).
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