- Having lower energy levels is part of the aging process, but it can also be caused by poor lifestyle choices.
- Poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, and dehydration can bring about sluggishness and fatigue.
- A lack of physical activity can also weaken your muscles and impact your body’s energy production.
Feeling Low on Energy?
Lower energy levels is a part of aging. As we age, we lose some of our cells’ energy-producing mitochondria. Our body also produces less adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules, which deliver energy to our cells.
Certain illnesses such as heart disease or depression can also cause chronic fatigue.
Your energy levels can also be lowered by the following unhealthy lifestyle habits:
1. Lack of physical activity
A sedentary lifestyle can weaken and shrink muscles, leading to “fewer mitochondria and less ATP,” explains Dr. Marcelo Campos, a primary care physician with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston.
Regular physical activity, on the other hand, strengthens and develops muscles. It doesn’t even have to be a hardcore workout.
You can easily meet the recommendation of doing moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes per day for 5 days a week by integrating a few short and simple activities into your daily schedule. Some examples include household chores, taking the stairs, or dancing to your favorite tunes.
2. Poor sleep
Sleep deprivation can lead to inflammation and lower energy levels.
It is important to work toward a regular sleep schedule. Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and free of light sources before you sleep.
If you have health conditions that disrupt your sleep, such as frequent urination or sleep apnea, you may need to seek medical help.
3. Poor nutrition
Poor nutrition can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiency, leading to less ATP production and fatigue.
Eating big meals at a time can also cause blood sugar spikes, which later lead to energy crashes.
Opt for whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean meat. High-protein foods, in particular, help boost ATP. Eat smaller meals every three to four hours to keep your energy levels steady.
4. Poor hydration
Sugary drinks can also cause blood sugar spikes followed by an energy crash. Dr. Campos also advises against caffeinated or alcoholic drinks within six to eight hours of bed.
Dehydration can also cause fatigue, so make sure to drink six to eight cups of water every day. Drink more if you’re doing strenuous exercise.
5. Too much stress
Chronic stress increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that decreases ATP production and increases inflammation, which further reduces ATP production, Dr. Campos explains.
Try out different ways to relieve stress. You can meditate, do yoga, breathing exercises, or find a calming hobby. Simply doing a calming activity for 10 minutes a day can help.
6. Social inactivity
Physical isolation doesn’t mean you also have to socially isolate. Social isolation can lead to loneliness and depression, which is linked to chronic fatigue.
Dr. Campos explains, “The power of interacting with other human beings and connecting with others can bring a different outlook and give you more energy.”
Schedule a virtual get-together with friends or family at least once per week and look forward to a nice bonding activity.
When to seek medical help
According to Dr. Campos, a medical consultation is necessary “if fatigue is affecting your day or if fatigue is accompanied by any other symptoms like headache, muscle or joint pain, fever, or stomach or urinary problems.”
Source: Harvard Health