5 Simple Heart-Healthy Energy Boosters

woman with headphones running outdoors catching her breath

Want more energy? Who doesn’t? We’d all like to be able to do more and feel better doing it. The key to boosting energy is making healthy, lasting lifestyle changes.

Here’s a quick rundown on ways to keep from feeling run down:

  1. Move more. In the short term, increasing your physical activity to increase your energy seems like the opposite of what you should be doing. But in the long term, it works. You don’t have to be a marathoner to see benefits. Just start where you are and do more. If you don’t exercise, walk around the block and gradually work up from there. Your goal should be to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, preferably spread throughout the week. You don’t have to do it all at once. Start slowly and stick with it.

    Learn how to get healthier through physical activity.

  2. Eat smart. Eating a variety of good-for-you foods will provide you with the energy your body needs. Here’s how:

    • Enjoy plenty of fruit and veggies. The vitamins and minerals they contain are good for you. Keep a serving or two of your favorite fruit or vegetable handy so you have something healthy to snack on when you’re feeling a bit hungry or tired in between meals.

    • Avoid big meals with too much salt, added sugar and saturated fat. High-calorie foods with very little nutrients can leave you feeling groggy. Eating smaller amounts and more frequent nutrient-rich meals will help balance your blood sugar levels over the course of the day, helping you feel more alert and energetic.

    • Eat whole-grain, fiber-rich foods, which are a great filler-upper. Fiber causes food to stay in your stomach longer, so you feel full longer than with coffee, high-calorie energy bars or drinks, and candy, for example. These quick fixes rely on caffeine and/or added sugar, which can lead to energy spikes and crashes.

    • Drink lots of water. Dehydration reduces energy levels.
  3. Learn how to eat healthy.

  4. Sleep. How much is enough? Each person is different. Most adults need around seven hours, but you may need more. If you have sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to wake up many times during the night, you won’t get the quality sleep you need and may feel sleepy all day. Heavy snoring is a major sign of sleep apnea. If your spouse or partner says you snore or that you periodically stop breathing for brief periods during sleep, tell your doctor. Sleep apnea can put you at risk for stroke.

    Learn how to get quality sleep.

  5. Lose a few. Carrying around extra pounds saps energy. It creates extra work for your heart and can raise blood pressure, too. Increasing your physical activity and eating a healthier diet to burn more calories than you take in is the way to go. Steer clear of fad diets; they don’t work.

    Learn our 5 steps to lose weight and keep it off.

  6. Lighten up. Stress is an inevitable part of life. That’s why learning to manage stress is important. Successfully managing stress means keeping a positive outlook and a healthy lifestyle, which helps fight energy-sapping depression. To take care of yourself, try taking regular physical activity breaks, meditating, taking time off and doing things you like. Avoid unhealthy ways to manage stress, which includes smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, overeating and relying on stimulants.

    Learn to fight stress by developing these healthy habits.

Most people who want to feel more energetic can do it. Following the steps above is a good start. You’ll feel better overall and improve your quality of life. You’ll also reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.