Which strategies can increase my energy level?

Keep an activity journal of what you do everyday and make notes of when you have spare time or can cut out or down on an everyday activity to replace with a physical activity. Feel free to break up physical activity into five or 10 minute increments throughout the day to make sure you fit it in.

Make any organized physical activity an intense one to maximize your calorie burn and decrease the time you need to spend on it. Write a list of physical activities you enjoy to do to help motivate or give you ideas on days when you don't feel like working out at all.

Plan for your time spent with friends or family members to be active. Organize a sport or physical game for these times. This also encourages the younger family members to live a healthier, more active life.

For everyday transportation, walk or ride a bike to your destination as often as possible. This may be to a post office, grocery store, bank, library or even to work. If you must drive your car to the grocery store, park at the far end of the lot. If you have to take public transportation, get off a stop or two early and walk to your destination.

You can increase your activity level without even going outside. Always take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator whenever possible. Practice stretching or weightlifting with dumbbells while watching the TV. Take breaks every 30 minutes when sitting at the computer to walk around. Try going for a walk every time you talk on the phone. Don't use your television remote and get up every time you want to change the channel.

Do at least one household chore every day that gets you up and moving. This may be washing your car, washing windows, cleaning your room, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, vacuuming the carpet or gardening just to name a few. 

Find ways to sneak in extra activity while doing everyday activities that require standing such as doing the dishes. Try doing calf raises while washing the dishes.

Owning a dog can motivate you to walk more frequently. Pets need exercise too, and knowing that you are helping them stay healthy, may motivate you to stick with an everyday walk.

Make an active decision to incorporate more physical activity into your life. Take every chance you can to get moving, and invent your own ways to move more.

Kelly Traver
Internal Medicine

Your best strategy is to adopt a lifestyle that lets your immune system remain strong enough to fight true enemies but inactive when possible.

First, exercise. This strengthens your immune cells and causes the production of a protein called sirtuin that decreases inflammation. It isn't easy at first - obviously, because you feel fatigued! But if you can push yourself to start, there are so many physiologic responses in the body that will increase your energy and stamina.

Next, choose healthful foods that keep inflammation in check. Fiber, for example, is very helpful for your immune system. Fiber sits in your gut and acts as a mesh to allow good bacteria to thrive and multiply, helping it keep the gut zone free from foreign invaders. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will supply you with fiber. Remember, animal products do not contain fiber.

Understand your normal biorhythms. All of us have an alertness and energy level that corresponds with our rising and falling body temperatures. The exact timing of your biorhythm is personal to you, but body temperature (and therefore alertness) is generally lowest at 4 a.m. It rises and peaks in the morning around 10 a.m. to 12 noon, then slumps somewhere between 2 and 4 p.m., at which time your body temperature rises and you get a second wind. Sometimes it helps to simply regulate energy-intensive tasks to peak energy times. And of course make sure you are getting enough sleep.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.