Increase Energy with Movement
Still reaching for caffeine at 3 p.m.? Check out this simple sequence you can do anywhere to help you beat the mid-afternoon slump.
When I was working on my Master’s degree, I found myself burning the candle on both ends. Between my regular work, teaching movement classes, volunteer commitments, family life, and my course work, I regularly found myself hitting a wall by mid afternoon.
To help jump start our brains, we often turn to caffeine. The problem with caffeine so late in the day is that it most likely will keep us up at night. Then, we will not be well rested in the morning. And most of all, we will find ourselves repeating the cycle each day.
Therefore, it’s really wise for us to explore other strategies.
Another strategy we often turn to is eating a mid afternoon snack. The crunch of food helps keep our brains alert. While we may feel temporarily satisfied with our afternoon snacks, over time, we often don’t appreciate the side effect of an expanding waist line.
Increase Energy with out Caffeine or Food
Any easy way to increase energy without caffeine is to move and sync your movement with your breath. Try raising your arms up while you inhale. Lower your arms as you exhale.
When we raise our arms up, we provide additional space for our lungs to take in a fuller breath. Furthermore, syncing your breath with your movement requires your mind to focus on the task. When we are tired we tend to lose focus.
Everyone is different. Try 3 to 5 times and see if you feel a difference. Or, take a really big stretch – like your largest full body yawn and reach out in all directions. See how one large movement helps you.
A movement sequence to increase energy.
Try this sequence of exercises to see if they help you feel better.
Time needed: 10 minutes
A movement sequence to increase energy.
- Lunge with arms up
Stand well in both legs. Keep your bent knee aligned with your ankle. Spread your toes and push down into your feet. Raise your arms up and breathe. Stay in the shape for 3 breath cycles. An inhale and an exhale is one breath cycle.
- Forward Bend
Keeping your legs firm and your spine long, forward fold from your hip joint. Allow your hands to touch the ground or the object you have your foot on. Breathe. Hold the shape for 3 breath cycles. As you push with your feet and hands, use an inhale to stand back up.
- Warrior Two
As you bring your arms out to a “T,” use an exhale and relax the top of your shoulders. Breathe and remain in the pose for 3 breath cycles.
- Side Angle Pose
On an exhale, rest your arm on your front leg as you reach fully to the sky with your other arm. As you press down with your back leg foot, reach up from your back side waist through your armpit to your fingertips.
- Side Angle Variation
As much as you are reaching your top arm up, equally extend your bottom arm down.
- Hamstring Stretch
Bend the knee of your standing leg. Press down into your heel on your front leg as you spread your toes on both feet. Keeping your spine long, tip forward from your hip crease. breath.
- Adductor Stretch
Press down into both feet and lift up fully through your torso. Breathe.
- Triangle Pose
With both legs lengthened, breathe. Spread your toes and isometrically pull your legs towards one another while extending fully through your torso and arms. Breathe.
With your legs hip width apart, bend your knees. As you breathe, tip your pelvis to the sky. Pressing down into your hands, lift your armpits and maintain the natural curves of your spine.
A great sequence for on the road.
Hope this sequence helps you increase energy without needing to drink caffeine or snack. It’s also a great sequence for road trips. It may help reduce driver fatigue as well as decrease discomfort from sitting in the car.
Use a curb or a bench at a rest area as the prop for your front foot. Be sure to practice the sequence on both sides of your body.
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