If there’s one thing we wish we all had more of, it’s energy. It’s hard to start your day without a cuppa joe, and you likely need a few cups to make it through the day. That’s why it’s easy to be a little jealous of naturally energetic people. No doubt you know at least one: The coworker who never needs caffeine to start or sustain their day or the friend who’s never been low in energy, not once.
Good news, though: You can soon be one of those endlessly energetic people. Here’s what you need to know about energy and how to increase it naturally, with tips from eight high-energy individuals.
Lifestyle can influence energy levels
Energy isn’t something you’re either born with or not; it’s a product of your lifestyle. Andrea Nazarenko, Ph.D., South Carolina-based psychologist, researcher, public speaker, and best-selling author of When Food Hurts compares energy conversion to an ATM machine.
“You get out what you put in,” Nazarenko says. “You can’t take out more than what you put in.”
Trouble is, life is innately energy-draining One major reason? The adrenal glands are fatigued. These glands are meant to help you cope with stress, but when your lifestyle is filled with chemical, physical, or emotional stress, the adrenal becomes fatigued.
“While not recognized as a diagnosed disease, suboptimal adrenal functioning can lead to a range of signs that the body needs support with sluggishness and fatigue being the characteristic signs,” Nazarenko says.
Other signs that you may be dealing with fatigued adrenal glands include cravings for salty foods, trouble sleeping, low libido, brain fog, and energy crashes in the middle of the day.
What causes those adrenals to function sub-optimally?
“Easy answer: It’s lifestyle,” Nazarenko says. “Factors that may play a role include your diet, sleep habits, emotional stress, chemical stress, trauma, toxic exposure (to things like personal care products, cleaning products, pesticides, unnecessary antibiotics, toxins in food and more), and chronic disease.”
That’s why the best energy booster isn’t at Starbucks, but in your lifestyle choices.
“You can’t create energy,” Nazarenko says. “We’re all naturally energetic, so going back to the basics and supporting a healthy lifestyle is the best energy booster.”
Simple strategies to increase your energy
That leads to this question: What lifestyle habits do high-energy individuals practice? Below, eight experts chime in, offering their best tips.
Add herbs into your daily routine
“Each week I make one to two herbal broths for myself, using meat, vegetables and Chinese herbs. These soups help boost my immune system and weather the seasons. It’s an easy practice that anybody can do.” – Genevieve Wong, 41, co-author of Healing Herbal Soups in Los Angeles, Calif.
“As an avid outdoor athlete, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking and skiing regularly, people often ask me where I get the energy. While part of it is getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, drinking plenty of water and staying active, the biggest piece is making sure I eat healthy. For me, that means sticking to a well-rounded, mostly organic vegetarian diet and cooking the majority of my meals so I know what’s in them. Most days start with a heaping bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal with cinnamon, nuts, chia seeds, a spoonful of non-dairy yogurt and fresh ginger, turmeric, and fruit. I do my best to avoid any food with added sugars, colorants, preservatives or additives because I don’t feel great when I eat ultra-processed foods. When I eat healthy, my gut stays happy, and when my gut is happy, I have more energy.” – Stacy Gold, 51, adventure sports athlete and romance author in Boulder, Colo.
Drink lots of water
“I try to drink 12 cups of water total throughout the day. I have a bottle I carry with me so it’s always handy. The difference a water habit will make in your energy and skin will be noticeable and rewarding.” Gretchen Zelek, 64, fitness trainer and co-founder of donutsandpiefitness.com in Santa Monica, Calif.
“If not a formal training session, I squeeze in some sort of stretching, body weight exercise or a dance party with my five year old daily. To do the same, make appointments with yourself by scheduling times during the day for movement.” – Aimee Nicotera, 46, health coach and virtual studio owner in Martsons Mills, Mass.
“I have to rewire and retrain my thinking every minute of every day, and although it’s tough, it’s the most rewarding thing I do. Whenever I feel like something is bad or negative, I make my brain rethink it in a positive way. It sounds corny, but it works wonders in my day-to-day life. I feel less stress, and I feel happy, and that’s what matters. I don’t know how many days or minutes I have left on this earth so I want every minute to be a positive one in my headspace.” Denise Cervantes, 40, fitness specialist in Temecula/Murrieta area, Calif.
Sigh it out
“Slow, deep breathing can reduce stress and lead to a boost in natural energy production, and the Physiological Sigh is one of the best ways to reduce stress and improve how you handle stressful situations. To do it, inhale twice through your nose, inhaling as deep as you can, and take another sip of air at the top. Follow that with a long, slow exhale through the mouth. I love doing this one to three times a day whenever I feel stressed.” – Rachel Hall, 34, fitness trainer and fitness director of www.bodyfx.com in Miami, Fla.
“Along with eating mainly whole foods, not drinking soda or alcohol, and walking as much as possible, I go to sleep by 9 p.m. and wake up around 5 a.m.” – Cherie Hans, 55, vegan blogger and school teacher in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
Crank the tunes
“Every day to boost my mood and spirit, I listen to music. I recommend making a playlist on Spotify with your favorite music. Set up different playlists for different moods, including to pump you up.” – Elizabeth Mooney, 38, founder of Country Fusion in Nashville, Tenn.
Try these additional tips to naturally increase your energy: