Fatigue is a common complaint in later years. Some days, it feels like a struggle just to get out of bed! But, even if you’re tired, you still want to live your life. But, how can older adults find the energy they had in their youth? Read on for five tips that will have you feeling years younger.
They say “you are what you eat.” One of the most important ways to maintain energy in your later years is to use food to your advantage, especially when conditions such as diabetes come into play. Skipped meals can cause your blood sugar to spike and drop, something that will result in low energy, even if you are not diabetic. As a result, it is important not to skip any meals. If you find yourself with a decreased appetite, or skipping meals, eating smaller meals five or six times throughout the day will keep your energy levels up.
So, then what should you eat? According to AplaceforMom.com, replacing high-carbohydrate meals with high-protein meals increases energy levels dramatically, since carbohydrates stimulate serotonin production, which makes you sleepy. Getting the right combination of vitamins, through both supplements and diet, is also crucial to keeping your energy up. And, as with all ages, drinking plenty of water is important, as dehydration will tire you out quickly.
It might seem counter-intuitive—you’re too tired to get out of bed, so why would you waste energy exercising? As it turns out, staying active is one of the best ways to increase energy. Exercise provides a more dramatic increase in vigor than stimulants or caffeine and comes with additional benefits, like decreased chances of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and depression.
Even something as simple as a morning walk will dramatically help with your energy levels. If mobility is an issues, as it is with many seniors, aquatic exercises or deep abdominal breathing are also excellent choices.
It seems obvious, but smoking is a bad idea. It decreases the amount of oxygen the body absorbs, which in turn leads to decreased energy. It also taxes the body, which takes resources from healing your body. If you’ve been smoking for a long time, talk to your doctor about quitting. Likewise, drinking to excess also depletes your energy stores, both because alcohol creates a sedative effect on the body and because it dehydrates you.
Be Engaged in the Community
One of the best ways to increase energy is to do things that make you feel alive. Social connections help ward off depression and reduce stress. Those relationships also provide a support structure that can help you reduce stress during difficult times, such as deaths of family members or lessening independence.
Of course, maintaining old relationships is important no matter your age. But, as you get older, you may find yourself wanting new connections with those who share interests or can better understand where you are in your life. Finding a mentally stimulating hobby is a great way to do this, as it helps reduce memory loss and prevent cognitive impairment. Mental stimulation also promotes creativity, which in turn promotes energy. Volunteering in the community is a great place to learn new skills, use old ones and meet new friends, all while cultivating a new sense of purpose. Many colleges will allow seniors to audit courses for free and a number of websites offer free online courses for those who want to learn.
Getting a good night’s sleep can be hard as you age. You might struggle to sleep because of pain or anxiety, or simply because it’s hard to get comfortable. But, sleep is crucial. It helps heal the minor damage that occurs throughout the day and improves physical and cognitive function. Make sure you plan to get at least eight to ten hours a night. If you struggle to sleep, talk to your doctor about things you can do to improve sleep quality—your body will thank you.
Taking an active role in your life is important at any age, but perhaps more so as you age. This list will help you make the most of your later years, so you can continue doing what you love and be independent longer.