Karen Ensle Ed.D., RDN, FADA, CFCS
Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County
How old do you feel? Some common complaints as we get older seem to be the loss of energy and feelings of stress. As adults reach middle age (40s and 50s) life seems to be spinning out-of-control for many and feeling healthier seems to be in the distant future. Ruling out health problems and making sure your body and mind are in good shape takes effort. Below are some tips to boost your energy and your health:
Exercise Daily and Get Walking: Remember that exercise will increase your energy level, not the opposite. Walking can give you a new perspective on daily living and will help you to improve your heart rate, blood pressure, and overall state of well-being. Studies have shown that exercise builds self-confidence and leadership skills. It will allow your whole body and mind to function at a higher level allowing you to feel more energetic for all your activities of daily living.
Yoga Makes a Difference: Walking and other exercise is good for your body and mind, however yoga classes have the ability to “clear the mind” along with strengthening the muscles in your core, back, arms and legs. It will increase your flexibility, improve your breathing, stabilize blood pressure, improve balance, improve your spine health and blood circulation throughout your body. All ages can benefit from yoga instruction so why not try it? Register for classes with your local YMCA or adult school for classes near your home.
Liquids Keep Us Hydrated: Make sure to drink plenty of water and stay away from sugar-sweetened beverages. Remember that dehydration will affect your total body and your energy levels. It also affects your concentration and how sharp you are. You will feel the lack of energy as your body becomes fatigued from dehydration. Your body needs approximately 6-8 glasses of fluids daily and approximately half should be from water. Take a look at your urine as it should be pale yellow not a dark color. Being hydrated is important for your overall health and wellness.
Early to Bed and Early to Rise Keeps the Body Healthy: Make sure you get sufficient sleep each night as research indicates adults need 7-8 hours each night. Not enough sleep will leave you feeling stressed and tired. Napping can help you get sufficient sleep but keep the time short to ten to twenty minutes for the greatest energy benefit.
Eat Fish: Eating fish at least twice a week will help your heart and will boost your mental reaction time. Dark fish high in omega 3 oils will keep your cholesterol and blood pressure normalized as well. Eating fish has many benefits for the body and mind.
Go for Regular Medical Check-ups: As we get older, we often feel tired if we do not exercise regularly. Fatigue could also be a symptom of many chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, anemia, and sleep apnea. Certain medications may also add to loss of energy such as blood pressure medications, antihistamines and diuretics. These symptoms should be discussed with your medical professional.
Everyone’s body is different, with some people having lots of energy in the morning and others at night. Your body rhythms control your energy levels and the time of day you have the most energy. Take small steps to choose healthy routines that keep your energy levels high during the day. Remember, good health is up to you!