Lethargy, weakness, lack of interest, inactivity, stress etc are all symptoms of low energy. We all want at the times just to lie on the sofa and do nothing, but if the feeling of low energy is for prolonged period, it can also be a sign of serious health problems. I will explore how to improve your energy levels by lifestyle adjustments. 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 the thyroid hormone causes fatigue and low energy levels among other symptoms. Supporting the thyroid hormone production will help to improve fatigue and low energy. It is important to determine what the cause is and a lot may be achieved through dietary and lifestyle changes.
Low energy can be simply due to lack of sleep or a poor quality of sleep. Feeling tired is a result of poor sleeping habits or working at night/ during the day or skipping sleep. This will negatively contribute to your energy levels. When your body is happy it performs well, your body needs rest and restorative sleep. This will positively influence your energy levels, performance and concentration.
Depression is also linked to fatigue and low energy levels. Counselling, meditation, relaxation techniques and activities, especially in the group have a 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. Haemoglobin 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. Foods like pulses, dark green leafy vegetables, organic meat and fish will provide the body with essential mineral it needs.
This brings a very important question to ask - how can we improve our energy levels and the 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 general practitioner. Testing your body might help determine any underlying causes. Knowing the levels of testosterone, iron and the thyroid hormone will help to direct focus on areas that need extra support. Lifestyle adjustments are essential as well as exciting. The top three areas of attention include diet, exercise and sleeping hygiene.
Diets should provide a variety of macro and micro nutrients, as well as good quality protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Make your meals with whole foods, include wide range of colourful vegetables and fruits, organic meat and fish or pulses and legumes and complex carbohydrates as 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 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 waking.
Remember to drink enough water, at least 2 to 3 litres a day. Water helps to maximise physical performance, has a major effect on energy levels and brain function, and hydrates our precious body.
Exercise is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle and can improve your energy levels as well as prevent fatigue. Gentle exercises like walking or swimming are a fantastic way to start an exercise routine. Find your top activity which makes you feel amazing and spend 20 minutes every day or 1 hour 3 to 4 times a week and Just Do It! And yes, dance class is perfect and counts, too. Regular exercises help to keep you fit and healthy and can help to regain a good nights sleep.
Good sleeping hygiene is important if we would like to find ourselves full of energy each day. Studies show for as little as half an hour of missed sleep will contribute to a decrease in alertness the next day. Most people need 7 to 8 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 a hot bath with magnesium flakes and essential oils before going to bed.
Switch off your computer, tv, phone and i-pad…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 you sleep in a comfortable bed, mattress and cool room temperature
Spending time outdoors and exercising earlier in the day also promote good sleep
Enjoy your energy boost and use it wisely!
Adriana Kucerova, Registered Nutritional Therapist, mBANT, rCNHC