After a year of high tension, BoomerCafé is offering up not just fresh stories, but some of our “best of” pieces from the past.
In this one from 2018, adapted from our partners at the PBS website NextAvenue.org, Illinois-based personal trainer Kelly K. James, wrote about “6 Simple Ways to Boost Your Energy.” It seems especially relevant to baby boomers who might wonder, do we still have the energy we used to have?
Around the time Hannelore Schlottmann turned 50, she started to notice that she didn’t have the “get-up-and-go” that she used to.
“I had all these vague symptoms of being tired and not having energy, and just not feeling that great. When I finally went to the doctor, I was diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency,” says Schlottmann, who lives in Mokena, Illinois.
Taking vitamin D supplements helped, but she says she still deals with some fatigue. “I do still feel tired sometimes,” she says. “I think when you get to this age, you just naturally feel more tired than you did in your 40s.”
Schlottmann and her family live on three acres of land, and during spring and summer, she spends a lot of time of time mowing and gardening. Work that she could knock out in an afternoon now takes a couple of days. “I just can’t do the whole yard in one day like I could before,” she says. “It just seems insurmountable — there’s no way I could spend five or six hours doing that work — or even if I can, I don’t want do. I will spread it out over two or three days instead.”
Schlottmann isn’t alone in her quest for more energy. One study on aging and exercise published in 2016 found that about 20 percent of men and nearly 30 percent of women over the age of 50 report feelings of fatigue. While occasional tiredness may simply be the result of a restless night, here are six simple lifestyle changes that are natural energy boosters and provide a better chance of feeling energetic every day:
1. Eat a Better Breakfast
We’ve told you before that breakfast really is the most important meal of your day. But why? By the time you get up, your body is in a fasted state. Prime your energy levels with a meal that includes some protein, healthy carbs and a little bit of fat for steady energy all morning long. (Think an egg-white omelet with spinach and peppers and some whole-grain toast or Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit.) Even a quick smoothie that includes fruit and a scoop of protein powder is a better option than black coffee.
2. Get Your Steps In
Regular exercise not only helps you control your weight and reduces your risk of developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes, it also improves your energy levels as well. If you’ve been inactive for a while, get your doctor’s approval before starting an exercise program, and aim for an intensity that feels invigorating (like a brisk walk), not exhausting (an all-out run). Even small bursts of activity, like getting up and walking for five minutes every hour, increases blood flow and can give you more energy throughout the day.
3. Boost Your Energy
A healthy diet that contains plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats will help give you sustained energy all day long. Vitamins and supplements can help, too. One in particular called TRU NIAGEN® gives your cells a coenzyme that they need to create energy. It helps your cells function optimally.
4. Maintain a Good Sleep/Wake Schedule
When your alarm goes off and you don’t feel rested, it can be tempting to sleep in. But it turns out that it’s better for your sleep habits and energy levels to set a consistent sleep and wake-up schedule and stick to it, even on the weekends. You’ll have an easier time falling asleep and better quality slumber, which restores you for the coming day. Sleep hygiene matters, too. That means your bedroom should be dark, quiet and cool.
5. Get More Green in Your Life
Chances are you spend most of your time indoors. Studies show that “forest bathing,” or spending time outdoors in nature, produces a slew of health benefits. Taking time to get outside during the day, even for a 10-minute walk, helps alleviate stress and increases your mental and physical energy.
6. Try Something New
Do you feel like your life is the same-old, same-old? Gerontologist Dr. Bill Thomas calls boredom, loneliness and helplessness the “three plagues” in older adults. They can cause you to feel tired, isolated and hopeless if you aren’t careful. Break out of your routine by taking a class, learning a new skill or making plans to visit somewhere you’ve never been before. You’re never too old to discover something you’re passionate about — and excitement about your life is one of the best energizers there is.
Follow these steps and you will be feeling more energetic and rested no matter how old you are.