We crave it, lust after it, would give our firstborn for it (especially our just-born). Energy is the hot currency in this breathless, sleep-deprived, 100-miles-per-hour world.
Acupuncturist and herbalist Christopher Hobbs attributes our energy shortage to mismanagement. "We take great care in running our finances, but we never think about managing our energy," he says. Using the bank analogy, the three key questions to ask yourself are: How can you increase the day-to-day amount you have available? How can you add to your savings account—your deeper reserves? And is there any way to use it all more efficiently? "The amount we have on tap would surprise most people," Hobbs says. He and the rest of a team of 15 medical experts O brought together to lead us toward better health have a host of ideas about how to infuse a little more energy into each day.
1. Make a list of everything you plan to do today: In Column A, include the activities that drain you; in column B, those that replenish you. Now figure out how to remove one item from A and add one to B.
2. Don't even think about having a bagel or doughnut (refined carbs) for breakfast. Complex carbs, especially uncooked ones (like muesli), and a bit of protein will give you slow, sustained energy.
3. Take an extra step—and 499 more. "Exercise gets your heart pumping more blood to the muscles," says internist Marianne Legato, MD. "It's one of the best antidotes to fatigue."
4. Plug into a great memory of you bursting with excitement—your first crush, a big promotion. Relive it in your mind. "Enthusiasm, radiance, joy—these energetic states come from happy emotions," says stress expert Alice Domar, PhD.
5. Get a blood test for both low thyroid function and anemia—two of the most common, and treatable, causes of fatigue.
6. When you get home from work, stretch for five minutes. "It takes energy to hold our muscles tight—a big waster," Hobbs says.
7. Don't turn on the TV for 24 hours. "Television," Domar says, "can suck the energy right out of you."
8. Assign one of your regular chores to another member of your household. If you live alone, is there one task (laundry, dog walking) you can hire someone to do?
9. Do you spend your mornings hooked up to a coffee mug? Try smaller amounts of caffeine—you may feel more acceleration with less. Or switch to green tea, which has some caffeine and lots of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
10. If you have the opportunity, flirt, even if you're in a wonderful relationship. Innocently catching a man's eye and offering some acknowledgment creates a charge.
11. Want pure invigoration? Jump rope for three minutes. Or just jump in place. "There's nothing on the planet better than getting up and moving," says nutrition and metabolism expert Pamela Peeke, MD.
12. Get a half hour—even better, an hour—more sleep and just see what it feels like.
More energy-boosting tips from our medical experts
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