5 Natural Ways to Supercharge your Energy
What is a chiropractor in Shelburne, Vermont doing giving out advice on restoring energy? First, please know I am a wellness chiropractor, so my job is not only correcting spinal problems, it is also showing folks how to stop recreating those problems so they can get healthy, stay healthy, and have the best life possible. The key things that keep your spine healthy turn out to be the same ones that bring depleted energy back up to a healthy robust level.
Are you feeling worn out? Always fatigued? Are you having trouble making it through your day? Would you like to learn how to live in such a way that your energy actually increases throughout your day? Let me share with you the secrets of the most energetic people in the world.
Many are simple easy-to-fix strategies of making some key lifestyle changes, but for some, chronic underlying conditions need to be addressed, which although they may take longer, for the most part are still very correctable. Let’s unpack the 5 categories. In each one it all comes down to designing a two pronged approach that reconciles:
- toxicities that drain energy and
- deficiencies in fuel and building blocks that are both required for energy
Getting enough sleep can be difficult in the best of times, but now let’s add quarantine to the mix and you may have suddenly found that besides being a parent with a full time job, you are also a school teacher or day care provider and full time chef. And when we don’t get enough sleep it can result in fatigue, difficulty making decisions, and even illness.
Did you know that your sleep patterns directly contribute to your overall energy levels? It’s true. Sleep plays a significant role in your overall health. Chronic sleep deficiency has been linked to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome, and more. While you are sleeping, your brain and central nervous system are hard at work preparing you for the next day. Believe it or not, sleep is also essential to your immune system. A lack of sleep has been shown to decrease your immune system’s ability to fight common infections. The good news is that getting 7-8 hours per night will allow your body to feel and function better. But all sleep is not created equal. The quality of your sleep is as important as the quantity.
Toxic sleep habits are often the underlying cause of poor sleep, where you are in bed for 8 hours but still feeling tired by morning. Some factors are working the nightshift, taking too long naps in the middle of the day, alcohol use, exposure to blue light from screens or electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) from electrical devices including wireless routers. Some people may unknowingly struggle with sleep apnea. Others have toxic thoughts from anxiety/depression, or emotional stress from grief or worry about a breakup, lost job, or the like.
Sleep deficiency is most commonly from simply starting the second half of your day after supper (who’s guilty here?). We are the only species on the planet that voluntarily deprives ourselves of sleep.
Why do these things cause a problem? It all comes down to Melatonin, the sleep hormone. If you have ever heard of your third eye located right in the center of your forehead, there actually is a gland set deep inside your brain that is responsive to light and regulates the production and secretion of melatonin. It is involved in modulating our sleep-wake cycles known as our circadian rhythm and also impacts the rest of our hormonal system, including our adrenal glands, by helping to balance our stress response. Cortisol, the stress hormone, competes with melatonin and when cortisol levels remain high when they should be low to allow melatonin to take the driver’s seat, it can have serious impacts to our energy levels.
How do we reconcile these toxicities and deficiencies in sleep? Best practices are:
- Getting exposure to early morning sunshine, natural light during the day and complete darkness at night.
- Keep the temperature of your bedroom at a cool 60-68o. I remember first encountering this fact when I was studying the best sleep environment for my new baby 18 years ago and I thought it was a typo in the book! Take a hot bath before bed so when you come out your body feels cold which triggers your brain that you are ready for sleep.
- Turn off wireless at night. Yup, just unplug the unit.
- Screen time before bed has a significant impact on quality of sleep because the blue light from the screen simulates bright daylight and makes our brains think it is the middle of the day signaling melatonin to drop. Turn off all screens 90 minutes before sleep. Here is a hack if you can’t avoid the screens.
Reading a few pages of a book, or listening to some calm music before bed can help slow your mind down and prepare it for a good night's sleep.
Of course, if spinal problems, muscle tension, spasms, or pain are keeping you up at night, please let us know. We would be honored to create a specific care plan to help you get more rest and recovery. Just contact our office to learn more about how we can help.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. June 7, 2017.
- Harvard Health Publishing. January 2006
Another important step to having more energy? Giving your body the proper nutrition. Really!
Toxic food choices carry a heavy burden to the body by putting greater demand on the liver and other digestive detox organs. They also take up room that nutritionally dense foods could occupy leading to deficiencies. Remember, our bodies were genetically designed 40,000 years ago with cells requiring certain nutrients in order to function properly. Poor food choices also drive chronic inflammation and are an underlying factor in every major chronic illness.
When it comes to getting that energy boost, it’s all about eating the right foods at the right time.
- Beware energy drinks. Just like sugar, they lead to crashes when they wear off and are taxing to your adrenal glands. Replace them with healthy proteins.
- Other draining foods: junk food, GMO foods, alcohol, and inflammatory foods. If you have food intolerances or sensitivities, these also take a toll on your energy.
- For those who struggle with weight loss resistance, caloric deficits from dieting can tank your energy, sabotaging your progress.
- Poor food choices can also drive leaky gut, anemia, and blood sugar dysregulation all of which deplete energy stores.
- Eat for energy by consuming foods packed with healthy sources of protein, fats, carbs, and the micronutrients we need, like blueberries, strawberries, salmon, lean meats, nuts, ancient grains, and vegetables.
- Maintain your energy level upgrade by avoiding processed snacks that are high in sugar. Let’s not confuse snacks with treats. A snack will always be healthy; a treat may be the occasional indulgence after all the good stuff has gone in. Watch out for that stash in your drawer; make sure it is healthy versions of snacks because your will power will NOT win here, and it does count even when no one else is looking!
- Consider adding daily supplements such as vitamin D, fish oil and/or probiotics which may help to reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
- Many medications also have side effects of low energy. I cover the most notable in this video.
Start by focusing on eating 2-3 small meals per day and aim for a healthy snack every few hours in-between to keep your body fueled and your energy levels high.
Once you have your energy up, start to remove the snacks and get back to just 3 healthy meals per day. If you are already doing this, then consider moving toward an intermittent fasting rhythm or a ketogenic diet. Moving your body out of carb burning and into fat burning is the best way to have steady energy throughout the day. Check out this video to learn more.
How we eat plays a huge role in our energy levels. When you have a low energy level, it’s difficult to get the motivation to stay active and exercise. However, when you give your body proper nutrition, you can have more energy and stay more active. So instead of focusing on the foods, you shouldn’t eat, direct the energy you do have into adding foods and supplements that can help you stay active and energized.
If you have questions or just want some help coming up with a plan, just let us know!
- Harvard Health Publishing. 2017
- Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat Rev NeuroSci. 2008
One of the best ways you can increase your energy levels and reduce stress is with motion! Our bodies are built to move.
Most energy concerns around exercise come from a deficit. Sedentary lifestyles are notorious for perpetuating fatigue. Let’s face it. We are genetically wired to be lazy. Our ancestors required so much energy just searching for food that to add in an extra hour of exercise to their day would be suicide.
Just like nutritionally deficient foods from depleted soils can be reconciled with nutritional supplements, so can a sedentary lifestyle be reconciled with supplementing with exercise, but just recognize the hurdle to overcome of our human nature to resist it.
Start designing movement into your day: Whether you are working from home or back at the office, consider a standing desk, organizing standing meetings, and parking at the far end of the grocery store parking lot; even reorganizing your kitchen so the most used items are on the top or bottom shelves requiring you to squat or stretch to reach them.
Fact: a simple brisk 10-15 minute walk can be all it takes to help you feel more energized, boosting your energy level by over 20%. That’s right. The key is staying active! Studies have shown that even moderate exercise that gets your blood pumping and that oxygen flowing can increase your energy levels. And that’s not all…
Moderate exercise does more than just help train the heart to work more efficiently. Keeping active also promotes the release of endorphins in your body, which makes you feel happier overall and can even help you sleep better. What’s more, your immune system can also function better with consistent exercise, which reduces your likelihood of getting sick.
Make a plan. Start today by picking out just 3 days this week to take a 10-15 minute walk. Be sure to add it to your schedule or to set recurring reminders on your smartphone to help you stick with it. Put your exercise clothes on first thing in the morning even if you don’t plan to exercise until later. Once the shoes are on, it is less likely you will be distracted and miss your window putting it off for another day … again!
If you are already exercising, make sure you are actually panting and sweating in bursts to take it to the next level.
Toxic movement that impacts your energy comes from exercising too much without recovery time. Pacing yourself as you increase your exercise intensity also minimizes the likelihood of injuries. Graded exercise therapy is a way to increase your intensity safely without running the risk of going from a movement deficit to movement toxicity.
Chiropractic care may be able to help keep you pain-free so you can maximize your efforts.
Science Source: Sports Med. Endorphins and exercise. 1984, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. February 2008
We were designed for stress. Genetically we thrive because of stress. Gravity is an ongoing stress and hunting for food, dealing with weather, escaping from predators are all ways we have adapted to our environment over millennia. Challenges make us stronger.
If we innately have the potential to manage our stresses, then why is stress draining our energy and even killing us?
The trouble is our modern world has been engineered to be abnormally stressful, most of it from cultural pressures like watching the news, work deadlines, family dynamics, chaos and disorganization. And then add on top of that emotional traumas and the growing rates of anxiety and depression.
We are fighting an impossible battle if our goal is to eliminate stress.
Stress will be a permanent fixture in all of our lives…. that’s a fact!
Do we just need to limit these stresses, to live around the overwhelming demands on us, just not live as big a life as we want in order to cope with it all? I think there is a better way.
The key to a healthy life and future is to properly adapt to stress.
Science is showing us a secret key to unlocking an inborn potential we all have to once again thrive from stress instead of being overloaded by it.
Check this out…
This is a picture of a brain using functional MRI imaging. On the left you see the brain lit up in many areas. They created a stress in this individual’s body to measure how the brain responds. The spots of light represent all the areas the brain is recruiting to help adapt and handle that stress.
But watch what happens next…
They took that same person out of the fMRI and gave him a chiropractic adjustment. They then created the same stress as before to monitor the brain’s response.
The picture on the right is the same person adapting to the same stress, this time after a chiropractic adjustment. WOW!
Was there less stress? Nope, it was exactly the same.
But his scan clearly shows less areas being recruited to cope with the stress.
Chiropractic adjustments bring balance, harmony, and organization! Less energy drain and more efficiency in dealing with stress is a result of Chiropractic care. Watch this video where I explain how this works.
It is a key component to dealing with stress!
The name of the game is Adapting!
Epstein D: “Network Spinal Analysis: a system of health care delivery within the subluxation-based chiropractic model.” Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research 1996;1(1):51.
Finally our discussion on causes of low energy must include those factors that are related to chronic conditions that may be more complex to address than the above strategies alone, however, all of the above best practices are certainly part of the solution.
If after following these recommendations, you are still struggling with low energy or feel you are getting limited results then it may be that you are suffering from some known or unknown underlying conditions that need to be addressed.
Besides chronic fatigue syndrome also known as adrenal fatigue, these may include Sleep apnea, Anemia, Obesity, Diabetes, Heart disease, Chronic depression/ anxiety, COPD, emphysema or more serious concerns like Liver failure, Kidney disease, Hep C or cancer.
Thyroid concerns, can classically be an underlying factor with low energy, both hypothyroid, well known for the fatigue that is its signature, as well as hyperthyroid which can rev up your metabolism so high it can be exhausting.
If you have a history of concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) or Chronic inflammation; if you struggle with Leaky gut, Heavy metal toxicity or Chronic infections like Lyme, Epstein Barr Virus, or hidden dental infections, these all need to be handled in very individualized and varied ways with the help of an experienced health care provider.
I have had experience helping folks with many of these concerns so I know that with persistence, even these can be healed, leading to a return to the high levels of boundless energy that we all were designed for.
Do not give up! Help is available. Take the next step today.
2:00pm - 6:00pm
7:00am - 12:20pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm
7:00am - 12:30pm
3:00pm - 6:00pm