Low energy? Boost it!
Lethargy, weakness, lack of interest, inactivity, stress etc. are all symptoms of low energy. We all want, at times, just to lie on the sofa and do nothing, but if the feeling of low energy is for a prolonged period, it can also be a sign of serious health problems so you should get in contact with your GP. In this article, I will explore how to improve your energy levels by lifestyle adjustments too, because how you are feeling matters.
- Testosterone is an important steroid hormone that maintains everything within the body, from muscle mass to sex drive, to motivation and beyond. Production of testosterone declines with age which can contribute to symptoms of low energy.
- Low levels of thyroid hormone cause fatigue and low energy levels among other symptoms. Supporting thyroid hormone production will help to improve fatigue and low energy. It is important to determine what is the cause and a lot may be achieved through dietary and lifestyle changes.
- Low energy can be simply due to lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep. Feeling tired as result of poor sleep habits or working at night/sleeping during the day or skipping sleep will negatively contribute to your energy levels. As your body is happy to perform well, it needs restful/restorative sleep in return. This will positively influence your energy levels, performance and concentration.
- Depression is also linked to fatigue and low energy levels. Counselling, meditation, relaxation techniques as well as activities, especially in the group have positive impact on your well-being.
- Low iron levels in women as well as men, cause chronic low energy. Iron is essential for the growth and development of the body and the formation of haemoglobin, and it carries oxygen around the body and helps transfer oxygen between each cell within our body. Oxygen is required by the whole body to perform all functions. Especially foods like pulses, dark green leafy vegetables and organic meat and fish will provide with this essential mineral.
This brings very important question to ask - how can we improve our energy levels and quality of our well-being?
- First of all, it is important to discuss any symptoms of fatigue and low energy that are present for longer period with your GP. Testing might help determine any underlying causes and knowing the levels of testosterone, iron and thyroid hormone will help to direct focus on areas that need extra support. Lifestyle adjustments are essential as well as exciting and top three areas of attention include diet, exercise and sleeping hygiene.
- Diet should provide variety of macro and micro nutrients, such as good quality protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Make your meals with whole foods, including a wide range of colorful vegetables and fruits, organic meat and fish or pulses and legumes and complex carbohydrates as the main source of energy. Avoiding processed foods will make a significant difference on your health, as processed foods are depleted of most nutrients that your body needs.
- Eat your meals regularly to ensure that you are receiving enough energy throughout the day. Eating mindfully can support your digestion and prevent overeating. Start you day with breakfast within first hour after awaking.
- Remember to drink enough water, at least two to three litres a day. Water helps to maximize physical performance, has a major effect on energy levels and brain function and hydrates our precious body.
- Exercise is a very important part of healthy lifestyle and can improve your energy levels as well as prevent fatigue. Gentle exercise like walking or swimming are a fantastic way to start an exercise routine. Find your top activity which feels amazing to you and spend 20 minutes every day or one hour, three to four times a week and just do it! And yes, dance class is perfect and counts, too. Regular exercise helps to keep you fit and healthy and aim good sleep as well.
- Good sleeping hygiene is important if we would like to find ourselves full of energy each new day. Studies show, as little as half an hour of missed sleep will contribute to decreased alertness the next day. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep every night. And here are some suggestions for a healthy sleeping routine:
- Going to bed one hour earlier makes a difference.
- Get ready for bed - listen to relaxation music.
- Practice deep breathing techniques and meditation.
- Have hot bath with magnesium flakes and essential oils before going to bed.
- Switch off your computer, TV, phone and iPad… It will wait for you the next day and read a book instead.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol especially at night.
- Go to the bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Ensure comfortable bed, mattress and cool room temperature.
- Spending time outdoors and exercising earlier in the day also promote good sleep.
Enjoy your boost of energy and use it wisely.