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Better Ways to Get More Energy

Teen girl listening to musicDoes it seem like you just keep going and going? With classes, homework, after-school activities, a social life, chores, maybe even an after-school job, you might feel like you need to get more energy to be able to do it all. If you do, make sure you are choosing an energy bump and not an energy drain.

Energy Bump: More ZZZs

For maximum get-up-and-go power, you need at least 8 1/2 hours of rest a night. But studies suggest when it comes to sleep, teens usually are getting just seven hours.

So do a little math. Figure out what time you need to wake up, count backward 8 1/2 hours, and try to go to bed then. Have to get up at 6:30? That means going to bed by 10 p.m.

If you find it tough to fall asleep right away, start winding down an hour before bedtime. Setup a routine to follow each night when getting ready for bed, and keep away from your computer, TV, and phone so your brain can relax and fall asleep easier.

Energy Drain: Candy

That candy bar sugar rush won't last long, and it comes with a lot of empty calories. To keep your energy level up and steady, reach for a snack with a healthy mix of protein, healthy fat, and carbs. Try instead:

  • Half a cup of trail mix, a banana, and a spoonful of peanut butter
  • A bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk

Energy Bump: Moving!

Sometimes when you're tired, you may want to veg out in front the TV or on the computer. But that's not going to give you the energy you need to get things done. Nor is it good, refreshing rest.

For a quick bump of healthy energy, getting up and active may be your best bet. Studies show that you’ll feel better and have more energy as soon as you start moving. That's because exercise increases the amount of your body's serotonin and dopamine -- chemicals that make you feel good.

You don't even have to go for a run or do an intense weight-lifting session to increase energy. Keep it simple -- crank out 15 jumping jacks, take the dog for a walk, or play a pick-up game of basketball. Or earn brownie points with your parents by mowing the yard without being asked.

Energy Drain: Caffeine and Energy Drinks

Caffeine is a stimulant that revs you up -- until it leaves your system and you crash. It's best to stay away from caffeine all together, and especially to avoid using energy drinks. You certainly should try not to get more than100 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is about how much you'll get in:

  • Two 12-ounce sodas
  • One 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee
  • One shot of espresso (used in coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos)

WebMD Medical Reference