As you get older, you may find yourself not having as much energy as you used to. You might find that activities that you used to turn to for an energy boost are no longer possible or do not provide the same results as when you were younger.
While a decrease in energy as you age is expected, if you find yourself fatigued for weeks on end, even after a good night's rest, it may be time to speak to a doctor to rule out illness. Continued fatigue could be a sign of something that requires treatment, such as rheumatoid arthritis or heart disease. Your doctor will also be able to check to see if any of your current medications may be contributing to fatigue.
Increase Energy by Eating a Healthy Diet
There are specific dietary recommendations for improving energy and lessening fatigue. A diet that includes high levels of alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and foods high in fat and low in nutrients can deplete your energy.
It is recommended to eat a varied diet consisting of protein, vegetables, fruits, and carbohydrates. Consider incorporating some of the following tips into your routine if you are having trouble sticking to a healthy diet:
- Try to prepare multiple meals ahead of time so that you do not need to cook every day.
- Incorporate grocery delivery into your routine.
- If your appetite changes during the day, eat your largest, most well-balanced meal when your appetite is strongest.
- Ensure your diet includes plenty of fiber from nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans.
- Limit saturated fats and opt instead for healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado.
If you feel that diet may be contributing to your low energy levels, you can try to keep a journal of what you have eaten and your energy level each day. You may find that you feel best with added protein, additional vegetables, or other dietary changes.
Increase Energy by Addressing Emotional Factors
Stress, depression, anxiety, and grief can all contribute to low energy levels. Though exercise and proper nutrition can often improve feelings of stress and depression, there are times when this is not enough.
You might feel that there are emotional factors contributing to your low energy levels. In that case, a therapist may be able to help you figure out how to reduce some of these stressors and manage your depression and anxiety.
Increase Energy by Exercising
Finding an exercise routine that works for you can boost energy and improve your appetite and overall mood. Exercises that combine breath and movement, such as yoga or tai chi, are solid choices. Other exercises that will enhance endurance and energy for older adults include the following:
- Walking or jogging
In addition to improving energy, endurance exercises can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as improving your lung health. Consider mixing up your exercise routine by trying more than one activity, such as walking one day and biking the next.
Increase Energy by Getting Enough Rest
Getting enough sleep at night is essential for both reducing fatigue and improving overall health. Older adults need, on average, between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. It is recommended to go to sleep at about the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning. To improve the quality of sleep you are getting you can try some of the following:
- Avoid napping during the afternoon, or keep your naps to under 30 minutes.
- Keep your sleeping room at a consistent and comfortable temperature.
- Avoid screen time, such as movies or scrolling on your phone, before bed.
- Try incorporating a bedtime routine, such as always reading a book or taking a bath before bed to help you wind down.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
- Try incorporating a relaxing meditation routine before bed.
If you are still fatigued after incorporating some of these changes, or if your fatigue has lasted for multiple weeks, you might want to contact a health care provider. They will be able to perform an exam and run tests to make sure that there isn't something else that is contributing to your low energy levels.