One of the first things we reach for in the morning is the kettle. Some of us just can't kick-start the day without that essentially cuppa coffee. While we convince ourselves it unlocks the secret to unbridled energy, there are plenty of non-caffeine sources that give the same buzz.
Don't get us wrong, we love our coffee at TWC. So much so we've looked at various ways we can use it to improve our cycling - and it totally works. We've even researched into different techniques to make out cuppa joe healthier. At the end of the day, even we can't deny that caffeine is an addictive substance, and it's becoming heavily relied on for those 3pm pick-me-up's, and more.
Energy is something that peaks-and-troughs throughout the day. As we head into the shorter days of sunlight and the colder months, finding those little flurries of power is can be difficult. Rather than guzzling down endless cups of caffeine, we've found some cheaper and more effective solutions...
Rise and Shine
Try sleeping with the curtains or blinds partially open. When the sun gradually brightens up your room in the morning, it'll trigger your internal clock to with a strong wake-up call. By gradually waking up to the first light of the day, it helps to ease you out of drowsiness when you do get out of bed. It's also expected to help boost positive vibes! Light therapy boxes do the same thing if you work night shifts as well.
A cold shower is probably the last thing you want to see on this list. We'll begrudgingly suffer the therapeutic pain of an ice bath when we're suffering with muscular aches, but it's not how we want to start the day.
However, finishing off your morning wash with a cold snap gives the system enough of a shock to really boost your alertness. Perhaps we'll just start with a cold face splash instead...
Whatever your favourite song is, stick it on and turn it up.
Music is energising, which is why it's often blaring out of the speakers in the gym. It's able to lift your spirits and boost your endorphins. Sing out loud like there's no one listening, and do it with a smile on your face.
Carbs for Caffeine
Even though a hot cuppa coffee warms the belly, and gives you that awakening buzz, try swapping it with some slow release carbohydrates instead.
Whole grain foods take a while to be broken down by your body, so they slowly release energy over a period of time. Porridge is a great way to start your day as you need carbs and fibre to control your blood sugar, and protein to help keep you feeling full. Try not to overdo it on the carbs though, as it triggers a surge of serotonin in the brain which can lead to a slump.
Learn Something New
Rather than mindlessly flick through social media, and refreshing your inbox, learn something new to stimulate the brain.
Whether it's a new recipe, developing a new training plan, or looking for a new adventure, keep your brain active. Being productive and accomplishing even the little things will give you a healthy hit of motivation and energy.
If you suffer from the 15:00 afternoon slump, or generally struggle to stay focused during the day, studies have shown that chewing gum can reduce this affect. Not only does it promote blood flow and oxygen to the brain and increased saliva production, but chewing gum engages the jaw and stimulates the nerves responsible for an arousing affect. However minute the nerve response, it’s said to be enough to fight off mid-day fatigue.
With a variety of other useful benefits, remember to chew it wisely. These new superpowers are good for only about 15 minutes.
Rather than sit in the break room, slurping down another coffee, take a walk outside. When your eyes are exposed to natural light, they trigger the areas responsible for alertness. The fresh air can act as another stimulating trigger also, as it breaks up the time spent in stale air conditioned offices.
It may sound silly, but rhythmic breathing can help improve attention span, and speed up your reflexes.
There are plenty of breathing exercises to choose from, but a popular yoga technique is this: Sitting down with a straight back, gently tense your abdominal muscles, and push your belly toward your back and force a bit of air out of your nose. As you relax the abs, a mini vacuum pulls some of the air back in. And repeat.
We all love to take a little time out to pamper ourselves occasionally. However, painting your nails different colours, or with bright patterns serve and eye-catching purpose.
Go wild with colour and imagination because every time you catch a glimpse of those carefully coloured nails, you'll trigger a positive stimulus in the brain.
After all, laughter is the best medicine.
Laughing and smiling all promote buzzing brain function. Whatever makes you laugh, smile or be happy should be done often throughout the day, even if it's thinking about your pet.
So, do more of what makes you happy. Chatting with friends, watching a comedy, or trying new things. All these things help get the happy chemicals going in the brain, and keeps you feeling energised and upbeat. YouTube is great for cat videos and laughing at other people's fails, too!
So, how about it? Think you can cut back on the coffee, and try out some of these alternatives instead? Give it a go, and let us know how you get on!
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