Photography, Thought Catalog, Unsplash.com
Morning coffee might get the day off to a good start, but we sometimes run out of fuel in the afternoon.
How can we keep our energy and attention levels up all day long? These 7 good habits can help.
1. Choose active transportation to get to work (walking, biking, etc.). If you come by public transit or car, get off a little before your stop or park your car further away to get some steps in before entering the office.
2. During the day, it’s recommended to get up and walk every 90 minutes. “Even walking for 30 to 60 seconds is beneficial,” says Jean-Philippe Chaput, a professor at the University of Ottawa and a researcher interested in healthy lifestyle habits and obesity. Walking reactivates our circulation and we function better afterwards.
For example, instead of sending an email to a colleague, you can go up to talk to them in person. He also suggests having active meetings where we talk while walking (e.g., outside or in a corridor) instead of gathering around a table. "Our brains are more creative and function better when we're active," he says.
3. Take a walk outside at break time or lunchtime. "Because it gets us moving," says Chaput, "but also because sunlight gives us energy on a daily basis and regulates our mood."
4. Try to get enough sleep. Adults are recommended to sleep seven to nine hours a night, says the researcher. However, a third of Canadians sleep less than seven hours. “When we're tired, we're less focused, lack energy, and don't feel like moving around as much.”
5. Eating well is also essential for maintaining energy levels throughout the day. Our brains run on glucose and need sugar to function properly. But we have to choose what we fuel our bodies with carefully!
Karine Gravel, nutritionist and doctor of nutrition, says it's best to stay away from the vending machine and favour foods that contain natural sugars rather than added sugars. “Opt for fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals or legumes,” she says. “These foods digest more slowly and keep energy levels more stable.”
6. The nutritionist also advises listening to hunger signals. This means that if there are two hours left until lunchtime and you're hungry, eat a snack (e.g. fruit, yoghurt, nuts, cheese), otherwise you'll run out of energy. On the other hand, “you don't have to have a snack at break time or finish your lunch if you're no longer hungry,” she says. Overeating also leads to fatigue, since our bodies will spend energy digesting food that we didn’t actually need.
7. Finally, the nutritionist recommends drinking plenty of water. Good hydration helps maintain our concentration. What's more, it gets us to the bathroom regularly, so we get up and walk more often; win-win!