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Healthy hacks for more energy

by Stephanie Mansour / / Source: TODAY

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Looking for a quick boost in the middle of the day? Whether you’re chronically low in energy or you just need a little pick me up every now and then, here are a few expert-approved tips to help you perk up.

1. Eat energy-full snacks.

Stabilizing blood-sugar levels with small meals and frequent snacks will provide you with the fuel needed to boost energy. Dr. Katherine Chavez, of the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern, recommends small, frequent, protein-rich meals to boost energy.

“A quick protein snack would be nuts, seeds, hard-boiled eggs,” she noted. Other ideas include an apple or banana with an organic nut butter.

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2. Amp up your workout.

If you’re looking for an energy boost during your workouts, add in quick cardio bursts after each set of strength training.

Megan Geiger, a trainer at Chicago Athletic Clubs, recommended 20- or 30-second cardio bursts in between strength exercises to bring up your heart rate and energy levels.

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“Spiking your heart rate will give you a little adrenaline which could help you to burn more fat and speed up your metabolism,” Geiger advised.

One thing to keep in mind, in terms of energy, is that it’s not just about food and fitness. Jennifer Lea, a performance coach and director of training at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, said that energy is multi-dimensional.

“It’s not just looking at your quantity of energy, but also the quality, focus and force of your energy,” Lea noted that over the course of the day, there needs to be periods of stress and recovery. The recovery periods are when we can renew our energy.

3. Take a minute to mentally reboot.

"We need to give ourselves permission to turn our minds off and shut down," said Lea. "Even if it’s just for 30 seconds with deep breathing.”

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An example of a breathing exercise would be breathing in while counting to five, holding for five counts, and then breathing out for five counts and repeating the process.

4. Make laughing a priority.

Do you have a co-worker or friend who can always make you laugh? Keep him around! “Seek laughter every single day," advised Lea. "Something that makes you laugh and smile will help renew your emotional energy, especially if you’ve had a bad conversation with someone.”

If that doesn't work, remind yourself of what’s most important in your life. Lea says, “Think of three words that describe yourself and who you are, when you’re at your best. Those words will provide motivation to get up and get a snack, seek laughter and exercise."

5. Add a supplement.

Finally, try out a vitamin B complex. According to Chavez, a lot of people are depleted in B vitamins, and since we don’t get as many B vitamins through our diet, a vitamin-B complex is something that many people can benefit from.

RELATED: Boost your vitamin B12 with these foods

“B vitamins help with neurotransmitters and adrenal glands and are used in tons of biochemical pathways in your body. You should notice an increase in energy right away,” Chavez said. Talk to your doctor about whether a supplement would be right for you.

For more daily tips on how to establish a healthy lifestyle, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.

Stephanie Mansour is a weight-loss and lifestyle coach for women. Join her weight-loss challenge here!

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