Tips for More Energy, Better Mood with Age

With aging comes wisdom, perspective, and yes, some physical changes that might sap your usual energy. But even if you’re not dancing quite as fast as you once did, there are plenty of things you can do to keep that bounce in your step. That renewed energy can also lift your spirits.

The three areas that should get your attention are diet, exercise, and sleep.

Manage Your Menu

If you’ve been eating the same things for many years, take a fresh look at what’s on your plate. The right types of food can make a big difference in how much energy you have and how you feel.

As you age, your body’s ability to turn food into energy naturally slows down. For many people, it becomes easier to put on weight. But you can take steps to stay fit and energetic.

Sugar levels play a big role.

Some experts suggest what are called “low-glycemic” foods, such as beans, non-starchy veggies, nuts, and whole-grain products, to keep your blood sugar in balance.

“High-glycemic” foods, such as white rice, white bread, and sugar-sweetened drinks, can cause fast spikes in your blood sugar. You may feel a brief energy boost. But when the dip comes, you might feel more drained of energy than before.

Quantity Matters, Too

You should also notice how much you’re eating.

Too few calories can leave your body starved for energy. Too many can make you gain weight, which can leave you feeling sluggish.

How much you should eat daily depends on several things, especially how active you are. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about what’s right for you.

Get Moving

You may have noticed that you’re working out less as you’ve been aging. Perhaps training for 5Ks has given way to after-dinner strolls.

But the more active you are, the more energetic you’ll feel. Exercise is one of the best ways to boost your mood, too. Talk to your doctor before you begin a new routine.

Be creative if you have issues that stop you from doing the things you once enjoyed.

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If arthritis in your knees is keeping you from running or playing pickup basketball, maybe swimming or cycling might work for you. The choice shouldn’t be to stop moving as you age but to move in a different way.

Look for fitness programs at local senior centers or find a partner so you can motivate each other.

If you’re having trouble finding time to be active, maybe you should commit to working out before you do anything else. Just make sure you eat some breakfast first.

Get Some Rest

For some of us, it’s one of life’s little jokes: When you retire and don’t have to get up for work, that’s often the time when you can’t seem to sleep in anymore.

But getting enough shut-eye is important. Most people need around 7 hours a night.

If you’re not getting that much, for whatever reason, look for ways to adjust your nighttime routine or talk with your doctor.

Try not to drink alcohol right before bedtime. While it might make you drowsy at the moment, it actually makes getting a full night’s sleep harder.

Some other tips to help you get a better night’s rest include:

  • Finish up all your caffeine by mid-afternoon
  • Turn off your computer, smartphone, and TV well before bedtime
  • Keep your bedroom as cool, dark, and quiet as possible
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time as often as you can

Try These Other Tips, Too

For a few more ways to improve energy and mood as you age, you might:

  • Cut back on alcohol in general. As you age, the sedative effects stay with you longer.
  • Drink more water. Getting even a little dehydrated can sap your energy and affect your mood.
  • Reduce the stress in your life when you can. Try to scale back your to-do list if you feel like you are spread too thin. Turn off the TV and take a walk if the news is making you anxious.

If you’re tired or depressed, talk to your doctor. Those things are not a normal part of aging. You may have an underlying health problem, such as heart disease or sleep apnea, which is causing it.

So take a good look at your diet, lace up your sneakers, and get enough sleep to feel energetic and excited about the days ahead.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on August 17, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: “Preventing weight gain.”

Iowa High School Athletic Association: “Using the glycemic index to compare carbohydrates.”

National Institute on Aging: “Healthy Eating After 50.”

British Columbia: “Alcohol and aging.”

Mayo Clinic: “7 benefits of regular physical activity.”

National Sleep Foundation: “Diet, Exercise and Sleep.”

© 2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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