As we get older, it seems as if we just become less energetic. Between the responsibilities of maintaining a job, a home, or even a family, life can feel exhausting. Luckily, if you feel constantly tired, you're not doomed to fatigue, as there are ways you can boost your overall energy without having to rely on five cups of coffee a day.
"The most common reasons [for low energy] I see are undiagnosed thyroid problem, too little sleep, which results in increased cortisol, chronic daily stress with work, home, or the family, leading to hormonal disruption, and vitamin deficiencies — vitamin B12 being common and low iron as well," says Dr. Westin Childs over email.
Although it is possible you may have a hormonal issue or thyroid problem, frequent tiredness is a normal side effect of a busy life, and there are habits you can adopt that will help counteract this frequent fatigue. The first step is to obviously make sleep a priority, as chronic sleep deprivation can have some health repercussions far worse than being exhausted for the week.
However, if you're getting enough sleep and still feel like you're dragging your feet, try boosting your overall energy with these six tips that will help you be more alert and upbeat.
1. Clean Up Your Diet
"Increase your energy by reducing excessive sugar intake and bad carbohydrates," says Childs. "Increase healthy fats for a more stable blood sugar, which will result in even energy levels throughout the day." Studies from the University of Cambridge showed that rats who ate a junk food diet were only able to run 50 percent as far as rats fed a balanced and healthy diet, demonstrating that food can have an effect on both your energy and performance.
2. Drink More Water
A common symptom of dehydration is low energy, and even mild dehydration can cause fatigue and moodiness. "Lack of hydration causes intracellular depletion, which results in sluggish enzymes," says Childs. "It will also slow down energy production."
3. Hit The Gym
Research from the University of Georgia shows that regular exercise helps improve overall energy levels and diminishes fatigue. And when it comes to your workout, it's better to focus on the quality of your workout rather than the number of hours you put in. "It's actually better to do high intensity interval training for a brief period of time than it is to sit on a treadmill for 45 to 60 minutes every single day," says Childs. "On days you don't work out, try to walk 10,000 steps per day."
4. Avoid Caffeine
Although caffeine can temporarily relieve tiredness, it can also burn out your adrenals, making you feel more chronically fatigued. "If you need caffeine to stay awake and focus, then you should avoid it," says Childs. "That's a good sign your body is dependent upon it and may be causing more harm than good. Avoid caffeine for at least one to two months and let your body 'reset' before re-introduction."
5. Relieve Some Stress
Stress is not just a mental issue. Chronic worrying not only increases cortisol levels, but it can affect your sleep as well, both factors that can contribute to low energy levels. Consider practicing mindfulness meditation, which can help lower stress levels and improve sleep and eating habits, according to LIVESTRONG.
6. Expose Yourself To Light
Whether you open the blinds or talk a walk outside, exposing yourself to natural light can boost your serotonin levels and increase your intake of vitamin D, which helps increase your natural energy. Studies from the Journal of Environmental Psychology also show that taking a walk outdoors has a vitalizing effect, so get outside daily if you can, even if it's for only 20 minutes.
Feeling tired all the time doesn't have to be the norm in your life, so why not try to attack the problem head on?
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