While everyone would love a quick fix for boosting energy, unfortunately, there is no one quick solution.
While our energy levels may naturally decline as we age, there are some things we can do to maintain our energy as best as we can:
Get enough sleep
Sleep is the #1 energy booster. Our bodies sleep for a reason! We need the rest and rejuvenation sleep provides. The exact hours needed vary from person to person, but somewhere between 6-9 hours is recommended. Ideally, your sleep schedule is also consistent day to day—i.e., going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
You have heard it before, but ‘we are what we eat.’ What we eat literally builds our body tissues. You wouldn’t put low-quality fuel in a sports car; treat yourself the same way. Whole foods provide our bodies with many vitamins and minerals that support good energy levels. On the flip side, ultra-processed, low-nutrient foods such as chocolate and chips provide very few nutrients with a whole lot of simple carbohydrates. This is the recipe for an energy crash.
Get regular exercise
Exercise not only gets the blood flowing but also builds muscle and fitness that keeps us going. When our cardiovascular fitness and muscle mass are low, day-to-day activities feel harder. In the short term, the increase in blood flow and endorphins from exercise also increase energy levels. Keep in mind, though, that excessive amounts of exercise can have the opposite effect—lowered energy.
Manage stress levels
We are finding more and more negative effects of stress on the body. One of these includes feelings of low energy and lethargy. Managing stress levels is crucial to feeling energized. Ways to manage stress could include yoga, meditation, and time spent in nature.
Less useful, short-term strategies:
While caffeine and other stimulants may be a go-to when energy is low and you just can’t make it through the day, they are not a sustainable approach to feeling energized. Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, give you an energy pick-me-up, but this is only short-lived. For some, this also comes with feelings of anxiety. If consumed too close to bedtime, it tends to negatively impact sleep, leaving you to feel low in energy the following day. While one coffee a day isn’t necessarily a problem, more than this may be hindering your energy levels long term.
Naps can be helpful if you haven’t had the best sleep, but you don’t want to rely on them for energy. Needing naps during the day may be a sign that you are not getting enough or quality sleep during the night. In some cases, napping during the day can actually leave you feeling more tired upon waking as you’re likely waking up mid-sleep cycle.
For good energy levels, aim to get 6-9 hours of quality sleep per night, eat a balanced diet, and get regular exercise.