If you’ve been feeling fatigued lately—and maybe not just lately, but for years—it can be easy to think it’s a normal part of aging. Yes, you might not be the same person you were earlier in life, but the lack of energy doesn’t have to control you.
It’s easy to believe that you feel the way you do because of some uncontrollable circumstance—lower testosterone, some back pain, a little weight gain—or that it’s just a part of getting older. But you might have more control than you think.
Your body undergoes natural changes with age. In men, testosterone levels drop a little bit each year, which can influence energy. For women, iron deficiencies or thyroid problems can be an underlying cause for fatigue. But for most people, the foundations of fatigue are the same and it’s very likely that most of them are related to lifestyle, not physiology.
If staying energized with age is a priority for you, here are some ways you can fight back against fatigue.
Stress management: Stress can be the ultimate energy killer and also one of the hardest to avoid. But it can be reduced through various measures, including talking with friends and relatives, support groups, or professionals. Hobbies can help, as can meditation, tai-chi, and yoga.
Exercise: Exercise is another great way to encourage more overall energy. It allows your body to release the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, which can provide energy. Even a brisk walk can manufacture energy that lasts. Exercise can also contribute to better quality sleep at night, which can increase energy and reduce stress. Increased blood circulation can also add a boost.
Alter your eating: How and what you eat can also have a big impact on your energy. For example, instead of sitting down for three big meals every day, it might be better to eat smaller meals and snacks with greater frequency, like every few hours. Your brain needs a steady supply of nutrients and feeding it can counter the feeling of fatigue. Eating nutrient-dense foods that are high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats can also help sustain energy and reduce the chances of a crash that come from refined sugars and grains.
Drink Water: If you’re short on fluids, one of the first signs is fatigue. Drink water throughout the day and aim for about eight 8-oz. glasses per day. This is an easy way to boost energy and improve focus.
Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. This article was first published in Bel Marra Health.