With aging comes wisdom, perspective, and yes, changes that may sap your energy. Even if you’re not dancing quite as fast as you once did, there are ways you can keep that bounce in your step.
Manage Your Menu
If you’ve been eating the same things for a while, take a fresh look at what’s on your plate. The right types of food can raise your energy and make you feel better.
As you age, your body’s ability to turn food into energy slows down. As a result, many put on weight. Still, you can help yourself stay fit and energetic.
Sugar levels play a big role. Some experts say “low-glycemic” foods, like beans, non-starchy veggies, nuts, and whole-grain products, can help keep your blood sugar in balance.
“High-glycemic” foods, like white rice, white bread, and sugar-sweetened drinks, can cause fast spikes in your blood sugar. You may feel a brief energy jolt, but when the dip comes, you may feel more drained than before.
Quantity Matters, Too
Too few calories can leave your body starved for energy. Too many can make you gain weight, which can make you feel sluggish.
How much you should eat each day depends on several things, especially how active you are. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about how many calories you need.
You may notice you’re working out less than you were when you were younger. Perhaps training for 5Ks has given way to after-dinner strolls.
The more active you are, the more energetic you’ll feel. Exercise and physical activity are great ways to help your mood, too. If you have issues that stop you from doing the things you once enjoyed, feel free to get creative. If arthritis in your knees keeps you from running or playing basketball, swimming or cycling might work for you.
You shouldn’t stop moving as you get older. Just 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 have trouble finding time to be active, maybe a workout first thing in the morning, before you do anything else, can do the trick. Just make sure you eat some breakfast first.
Talk to your doctor before you begin a new routine.
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, you can’t seem to sleep in anymore.
But getting enough shut-eye is important. Most people need about 7 hours a night. If you’re not getting that much, for whatever reason, look for ways to adjust your nighttime routine.
Try not to drink alcohol right before bedtime. While it might make you drowsy for a little while, it actually makes it harder to get a full night’s sleep.
You should also:
- Finish all your caffeine by midafternoon.
- 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.
If you still can't get enough sleep, talk with your doctor.
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, its effects stay with you longer.
Drink more water. If you're even a little dehydrated, it can sap your energy and affect your mood.
Cut stress where you can. For example, 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. Another health problem may be to blame, like depression, heart disease, or sleep apnea.