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Do any or all of these easy yoga stretches, and feel refreshed.For A.M. Energy
Stand a few inches in front of your bedroom doorway and lift arms so that elbows are at shoulder height. Place palms on the edges of the door jamb, framing both sides of the doorway. Anchor hands as you lean forward and exhale. "Hold for a few breaths, allowing shoulder blades to move together and the chest to open," says Edward Vilga, a yoga instructor at Laughing Lotus in New York City and author of Yoga for Suits. Then, inhaling, return to starting position.For At-Work Energy
Need a Lift? Try mint. Breathing in the scent of peppermint is a natural pick-me-up. In studies at West Jesuit University in West Virginia, lead researcher Bryan Raudenbush, PhD, found that mint stimulates the part of the brain connected to attention and arousal. Use a peppermint-infused body lotion.
Need a Lift? Make love. "Sex triggers the production of chemicals, including testosterone, dopamine, and oxytocin," says Helen Fisher, PhD, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and author of Why We Love. This revitalizing surge of hormones increases mental clarity and boosts energy.
"This 1,700-calorie plan is high in lean protein, heart-healthy fats, dairy, and unprocessed carbs -- the building blocks that keep energy levels up," says Monique Ryan, RD, a nutritionist in Chicago and author of Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes. "If you exercise for more than 35 minutes, add another 200- to 300-calorie snack."Breakfast: Veggie omelet
Make it: Coat a skillet with cooking spray; add egg whites. Once the edges are set, sprinkle veggies on egg. Cook through. Fold and serve.Snack: Blueberry smoothie
Make it: In a blender, mix together milk, blueberries, and ice cubes.Lunch: Spicy avocado burritos
Make it: Cut chicken into strips and place on tortillas. Top with cheese, beans, salsa, peppers, and avocado.Snack: Yogurt parfait
Make it: Top yogurt with fruit slices.Dinner: Salmon and summer vegetables
Make it: Heat oil in skillet, add salmon, and saute. Serve with asparagus, dressed mixed greens, and couscous.Take a Power Shower
Finish your morning shower with a 10- to 20-second blast of cold water; this will invigorate you from head to toe and wash drowsiness away. According to researchers in New Zealand, suddenly immersing yourself in cold water increases your heart rate, alertness, and the blood flow to your skeletal muscle.
Need a lift? Buy yourself a plant. Who knew? Having greenery nearby increased workers' productivity by 12 percent, according to a study at Washington State University. "By causing us to be more relaxed, plants help us to be more productive and focused," says lead author Virginia Lohr, PhD.
Taurine: This amino acid helps your body move nutrients like potassium into and out of your cells. Does it energize? Mixed with the other ingredients here, it's tough to know.
Panax ginseng: One study found that a daily 1,000- to 2,000-mg dose may improve fatigue in cancer patients, but the 50mg in an energy drink doesn't add up to much.
Caffeine: Studies suggest that caffeine can enhance memory and even protect against Parkinson's disease. A safe limit: 200 to 300mg a day. One can of Rockstar has 160mg.
Guarana: A Brazilian plant, it contains natural caffeine. In a recent study, researchers found that varying doses of guarana enhanced memory, increased alertness, and improved mood.
Inositol: It may help reduce depression and anxiety, but the 50mg in here isn't going to do it. You'd have to drink 360 cans to get as much as study participants did.
B Vitamins: They turn food into energy. "But any boost you get is from the caffeine and sugars, " says Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo, PhD, an American Dietetic Associate spokesperson.
Gingko biloba: Some studies suggest that this Chinese herb may improve concentration and memory. However, it can also cause side effects such as headache, dizziness, and heart palpitations.
Carnitine: Some studies show that this amino acid may improve heart health. But you'd need to drain 20 to 4 cans daily to get the amount recommended for benefits.
The bottom line: Skip the energy drink and reach for H20, iced tea, vegetable juice, or 100 percent fruit juice instead. "And get a good night's sleep -- it will do a lot more than an energy drink to fight fatigue and improve concentration," says Gazzaniga Moloo.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2007.