Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you should give in to feeling ‘old and tired’. Your lifestyle plays a huge part in how much energy you have and if you look after yourself there’s every chance you could feel 10 years younger.
Your body gets its energy from the food you eat – how efficiently it uses that energy comes down to how fit and healthy you are. If you work hard to stay in good shape you should feel more energetic.
How you fuel your body is important
If your diet is full of sugar, saturated fat, caffeine and alcohol your energy levels will dwindle. As you get older your body finds it harder to deal with these products and wastes precious energy ridding your body of the toxins they contain.
Replace them with foods that are packed with vitality-boosting vitamins and minerals such as fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean protein from poultry and fish and essential fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds. Research has shown that people who eat a balanced diet have 10 times more energy than those who don’t.
Always start the day with breakfast
If you want all-day energy you need to start right. Switch sugary cereal or toast with jam for porridge and fruit, or poached eggs on toast with some grilled tomatoes.
It might seem counter-intuitive but if you want more energy you need to do more exercise. A regular workout helps to build muscle and give you strength. The stronger you are the easier it becomes to do every day tasks such as cleaning and carrying your shopping.
By the time you hit 70 you’ll have 30 per cent less muscle than you had in your 20s, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Build muscle by doing weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, dancing or playing tennis and add in a few resistance moves such a squats, push ups and lunges.
Have a good stretch too– especially if you’ve been sitting in one position for a long time. Stretching helps boost circulation and get the energy flying around your body again. You don’t need to do anything fancy, just stretch your arms up, roll your shoulders back, scrunch up and release your toes and wiggle your fingers.
Spend time outside in natural daylight. Your body clock is affected by light – if you spend time in bright daylight it stimulates your body clock and boosts your energy. If you spend too much time indoors in poor light your body will start to think you’re heading off to bed and will release sleepy hormones. If your energy starts to flag go for a brisk walk outside.
Drink plenty of water because being dehydrated is tiring for your body. Without enough fluid your muscles and organs have to work harder. Aim to drink at least two litres of water every day.
Constantly rushing around, doing things for everyone else and being inundated by noise and information can be incredibly draining on your energy reserves. Ask yourself when was the last time you sat quietly for a bit of peace?
Take some time for yourself every day – just 10 minutes is fine. For an extra energy boost use the time for some meditation. A US study found that regular mindful meditation could help to significantly ease fatigue. Sit somewhere quiet and comfortable, close your eyes, breathe deeply and try to clear your mind.
Make sure you steer clear of negative people who leave you feeling exhausted. Your friends should inspire and energise you – so look for upbeat folk to spend your days with.
For an energy pick-me-up, try one of these:
- Siberian ginseng has been used in China for more than 5,000 years as a remedy for exhaustion. It’s thought to help your body deal with stress and improves stamina and concentration.
- A multivitamin will help if you’re deficient in specific nutrients. Without them, your body won’t be able to work efficiently, wasting precious energy.
- Magnesium is vital for energy production so ensure that your multivitamin contains some.
- Co-enzyme Q10 is found in every cell in your body and helps to produce energy. It’s present in lots of foods, but taking a supplement could help to top-up your levels.
There's more health advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.