- Rose Kennedy For the AJC
Watch enough "as seen on TV" and social media ads, and it's easy to believe the only way to boost your energy is to rev up your credit cards.
But that doesn't mean that people without the budget for $300 juicers, supplements at $5 a pop or $10 designer energy drinks are doomed to low energy.
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According to fitness and health experts, many proven energy boosters are inexpensive or even free. Here are seven suggestions from the cost-conscious pros.
Bring a banana: Instead of a smoothie stand beverage that tallies six or seven bucks by the time you've added whey and wheat grass and the such, Fitness magazine recommends stocking up on healthy snacks at the grocery store.
"Snacking keeps your metabolism revved up and is a great way to boost your energy," Tara Gidus, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, told Fitness.
One of her favorite choices: a fresh banana, which can cost as little as a quarter if you shop at a grocery store instead of the convenience store.
"It's got vitamins, minerals, and good carbs, which give you quick energy," says Gidus.
A serving size is considered one piece of fresh fruit or a cup of chopped fruit.
Snack on a healthy half sandwich: Another budget-friendly snack that will boost energy: half a sandwich made with 2 ounces of turkey, mustard and a slice of whole wheat bread. According to Gidus, this snack includes energy-boosting carbs and satiating protein that will keep your energy up a little longer. Keep the ingredients on hand at home or in the office fridge.
Walk your way to an energy boost. In the five or 10 minutes it would take you to fix a caffeinated beverage, you could be well on your way to recharging yourself with a walk.
Thirty minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise will significantly improve both your mood and energy, clinical exercise physiologist Tom LaFontaine told Fitness. Walking for a half-hour will elevate your serotonin levels for an energy boost that will rev you up for several hours.
Make sure to bring walking shoes when you head for the office.
Tap your thymus. You could pound a can of energy drink, but it's cheaper and quicker to revitalize by tapping your thymus with your fingertips for 20 seconds while slowly and deeply breathing in and out. The thymus is at the center top of your chest, below your collarbone and between your breasts.
"When tapped, it triggers the production of T-cells, boosts energy, relieves stress, and increases strength and vitality," Marian Buck-Murray, a nutrition coach and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner told Shape.
Get up, stand up. If you're feeling fatigued when you aren't even sleep deprived, you may have been sitting way too long.
"Vessels have a natural tendency to constrict during periods of inactivity, zapping you of energy and making you feel tired," Moshe Lewis, chief of the department of physical medicine and rehab at the California Pacific Medical Center, told Shape.
Standing up and walking around even for just a few minutes will jump-start both your heart and muscles, Lewis said.
Just breathe – deeply. If you can learn to inhale and exhale completely, you can tap one of nature's best free energizers at any time. Laurel Clark, president of the School of Metaphysics in Windyville, Missouri, shared this breathing pick-me-up with Shape:
Sit with your spine straight and eyes closed.
Focus your attention on your breath, and slowly inhale to a count of six.
Hold your breath to a count of three and tense all of the muscles in your body.
Exhale for a count of six, completely releasing all of the breath, relaxing the muscles as you do so.
Hold the breath out to a count of three.
"After a while, you can cease tensing and relaxing the muscles and just focus on the slow rhythmic breath," Clark said.
Scent your bath with peppermint oil. While taking a bath is certainly soothing, if you add 5 or 10 drops of peppermint oil to your water, the aroma can lead to increased alertness, according to Health.
To get the full refreshing effect, inhale deeply.