Wondering why you're sluggish? Slowing metabolism is a consequence of aging and happens to us all. However low energy can be caused by dehydration, depression, insufficient diet, lack of exercise or health conditions and medications. Fortunately there's often something we can do to boost energy in the short term and support longer lasting effects. Give yourself a quick recharge and ensure more vitality with a few simple steps.
During the cold and stress of winter holidays it can be crucial to find more energy. Though there are quick and healthy ways to get a temporary boost- long lasting energy requires us to prioritize support for our aging bodies. Try any one of the suggestions below and you'll likely feel more vital. Adopt them all and you may change your experience of life.
1. What could be quicker and easier than drinking water? Unlike exercise it requires little effort and offers big returns. In winter months hydration is critical and complicated by diminished thirst caused by low temperatures. Your lack of energy could be solely related to dehydration. Are you dehydrated? To determine that check out this simple chart of urine colors. If you struggle to drink water here are some helpful strategies:
- Consider eating oranges or celery and other highly fluid foods.
- Limit dehydrating pastries and fried or processed foods to once a week or less.
- Go easy on coffee and caffeinated drinks. Try herbal or green teas or homemade broths and soups.
- Lower or drop your alcohol intake for an overall boost in energy and vitality.
- Set a water goal by filling a bottle or jug and drinking it all before the next day.
- Flavor the tap water with lemon or cucumber or try sparkling water.
- Consider running a humidifier to combat winter dryness.
2) Eat delicious wholesome meals regularly. Here's another easy one that's too easy to ignore during fast paced activity. Select whole foods and lower your consumption of fried or processed food, sauces, and animal products. Grab a banana in the morning for a B-6, carb and potassium boost. Take some brown rice and vegetables to lunch. They'll help your body keep level energy throughout the day. There's nothing more delicious than a nourishing meal! Your mind may feel treated by fast food and sweets but your body and brain need nutritive foods because only those produce the energy to support an active lifestyle and optimal health.
Enjoy a daily menu featuring steamed or raw vegetables, rice and grains, beans and legumes, salads, fish, and fruits. These foods form an energy foundation for your body. Preparing some of these things can take time but many ask for no more than 1/2 hour. Fish bakes in just 18 minutes. Vegetables steam in less than 15. Salad can be a 10 minute project. Make a pot of brown rice and you've got healthy meals for several days! For more consistent energy try eating small portions every 3-4 hours. In addition, if you take vitamins take them regularly. If you have trouble doing that try putting them in a medi-set or setting them out the night before. Vitamins can help to fill in gaps in your diet and give you an overall boost but they're no replacement for balanced, nutritious foods.
Nutritionist Diana Steelle offers her ideas on eating for energy in the helpful video below
3) Enjoy good sleep. Sleep could be number 1 because sleep is where our body repairs and regenerates itself. If you're not letting your body recover it can create fatigue. Much is now known about "sleep architecture," the stages of deep rest, and its benefits. The most important point is that sleep is not unproductive time. We cheat ourselves when we think of sleep in terms of what we can "get by with" instead of ensuring conditions that allow adequate time for the completion of all stages of sleep. While we are at rest sleep consolidates memory, flushes toxins, and regulates our biological mechanisms. What could be more important?
4) Try something different. Could the answer be that simple? It's possible. Waking your mind up and cultivating new interest in life goes a long way toward resolving some types of fatigue.
5) Exercise daily. You may feel the need to rest after exercising-that's healthy-yet how invigorated are you? A lot, I bet. Exercise boosts energy. Go slow and stretch first if you're just starting. Begin with exercises adapted for your age. Are you over 50? Over 60? Over 70? Over 80? Walking is an effective basic exercise. Vary your speeds for desired strengthening and consider adding inclines as you build strength. Other good toning exercises include: swimming, yoga, tai chi, and basic stretching. Below is a 20 minute routine designed for complete fitness shown in both standing and adapted seated or chair assisted positions. Moving helps oxygenation, strength, and circulation all of which assist with feeling energetic and confident in life.
It's remarkable how little time the steps to a healthy life require. 20 minutes of exercise, 1/2 hr to cook a healthy meal, no time at all to drink fluids, and 8 hours to rest. Surely the wisdom of old age tells us that we have that time to devote to ourselves and the imperative to be the best we can for the days ahead. Hopefully you've found something in these steps that's useful and by using it you'll recover some of your energy. There's nothing in life like feeling fit, independent, and engaged.
Harvard Health weighs in on fatigue after 50 in this article