Quick ways to energise

Everyone needs a quick hit of energy once in a while, so I thought we’d take a look at some quick and easy—and better still, scientifically proven—ways to find some energy quickly. There’s always caffeine or sugar, of course, but they aren’t all that good for you. So I’ve grouped ways to get a quick hit of energy that are good for you into 3 categories: the mouth, the body, and miscellaneous.

First: the mouth. We all know that we’re 80% water and we should drink about 2 litres a day. When you feel you need a quick pick-up, drink a glass of water. If you want, you can put a few ice cubes in for an extra burst of alert and if the thought of plain water is too much for you, dribble in a bit of apple cider vinegar or grape juice without preservatives.

Or you can do what the monks do just before they meditate: sip some green tea. A cup has 20 – 30 mg of caffeine, which is enough to pep you up but not cause jitters (a cup of coffee has 5 times as much caffeine). Green tea also contains a stimulant called thoephyllin that increases blood circulation and dilates bronchial passages, which improves the flow of oxygen, and it has 40 mg of the amino acid L-theanine, which helps you concentrate and keeps you calm.

Chewing is good, too, because it stimulates brain and muscle activity, which wakes you up, and a healthy snack, like an apple or a handful of raisins or walnuts feeds the brain at the same time. Or you can chew sugarless gum, maybe peppermint or spearmint since those aromas stimulate the brain to make you more alert. Speaking of mint, you could also suck or chew a strongly scented mint (but make it sugar-free or too many will give you an energy spike followed by a quick crash).

Now onto the body. This sounds crazy but wiggling your toes activates nerves that stimulate your brain. So wiggle your toes before you get up in the morning—it helps you wake up and become alert more quickly. Wiggle your toes after you’ve been sitting for a long time, too. Wiggle your toes right now!

Maybe at the same time, give your ears a good rub all over for about a minute—not so rough you hurt yourself, but vigorously; your ears will feel hot, which is a sign your blood is circulating and you’ll feel more alert almost immediately.

If you want to stay seated, spend a few minutes doing neck stretches and some ankle rotations. But if you can, stand up and move. Step outside for a breath of fresh air or go to the kitchen or bathroom and wet your face and the back of your neck with cold tap water and rinse your mouth or gargle with cold water for a few seconds.

Or you can do some simple exercises—even isometric exercises get your body moving and your blood flowing. Or you can, stand up and stretch: your back, your chest, your hamstrings and your waist. This stimulates your circulation, too, and voila: instant energy.

You’ll get even more energy by taking some deep breaths when you’re doing any of these energisers. Another way to breath in energy is to breathe in deeply and then exhale in a series of short, rapid bursts, drawing your stomach muscles in to force out each burst. You only need to do that three times, but take a few normal breaths between each so you don’t get dizzy.

And three quick miscellaneous ways to quickly energise: Phone home and have a nice conversation, not a grumpy one; have a good laugh, or play some up-beat music you like. Three more ways to find instant energy.