Many seniors assume that they’ll have all of the energy in the world when they retire, the feeling of low energy is very common among seniors. Sometimes, that low energy feeling can leave us not wanting to leave the couch.
Energy levels naturally start to decline as we age, but there are things we can do to counteract this effect.
1. Stay Active
Exercise is a natural energy booster that will keep your heart and body healthy as you age. Contrary to what you may have heard, you don’t have to take an intense spinning class to reap the energy-boosting benefits of exercise. Walking or hiking can help give you that little jolt of energy you need to get through the day.
Studies have shown that sedentary people who complete a regular exercise program report improved fatigue compared to groups that do not exercise.
The next time you feel an urge to nap, get up and take a walk instead.
2. Stay Hydrated
When you’re feeling tired, reach for a glass of water instead of a cup of coffee. Dehydration can cause fatigue – even when it’s mild. In fact, just 2% dehydration can lead to a 30% decrease in activity.
Make it a point to drink at least two liters of water each day. You can also drink herbal tea without sugar to stay hydrated.
Many foods can help you stay hydrated, too, such as lettuce, cucumber and watermelon.
3. Eat Healthy
Food is fuel. Fuel your body with high-quality, healthy food, and you’ll immediately feel an energy boost.
If you wake up in the morning and fill up on toast, waffles, pancakes or cereal and wash it down with a cup of coffee, you can expect to crash a few hours later. Carbohydrates are converted to sugar in the body, which leads to a serious crash shortly after eating them.
High-protein foods will help keep your energy levels up while making you feel fuller for longer.
Some energy-boosting foods include:
- Leafy greens
- Lean fats
It’s equally important to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D and calcium as well as vitamins A, B, C and E. Folate and niacin are also important, and deficiencies can lead to chronic illness and fatigue.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
A good night’s rest will help you enjoy sustained energy throughout the day. Many seniors have trouble sleeping the night through, so it may be best to go to bed earlier and give yourself more time to sleep.
Chronic insomnia, sleep apnea and other health conditions can prevent you from getting a full night of rest. Treating these conditions can help resolve the problem and allow you to finally get the rest your body needs.
In addition to addressing health issues that may be affecting your sleep, it’s important to adopt a healthy sleep routine.
- Remove electronics from the bedroom.
- Keep the room a cool temperature.
- Make the space as dark as possible.
- Use a white noise machine if you’re a light sleeper.
Making sleep a priority will help you enjoy higher, more sustained energy levels each day.
Stress is a silent killer, and it robs you of both your mental and physical energy. As we age, life brings about unforeseen challenges and the changes of older age can also contribute to stress.
There is no right or wrong way to de-stress. Simply doing something that takes your mind off of the stressor can help you relax.
- Try meditating.
- Go for a relaxing walk.
- Talk to a friend.
- Spend some time in nature.
Addressing your stress can help you keep it in check while boosting your energy levels.
Many seniors feel isolated and lonely. The children move out and start their own families. Friends pass away. Loved ones move away. Changes to the family dynamic can be difficult to cope with, but maintaining a circle of friends can help minimize the blow.
Connecting with other people is an important part of feeling happy and engaged. Have you ever made plans with friends, and immediately perked up and felt more energetic? Socializing gives us something to look forward to and a reason to get up and moving.
7. Pick Up a Hobby
It’s common for seniors to feel like they’ve lost their sense of purpose after retiring. But taking up new hobbies and engaging in meaningful activities can restore that sense of purpose and give you the energy to take on the day.
- Learn a new skill
- Volunteer your time
- Take up a hobby, like gardening, knitting or painting
- Join a book club
- Learn a language
Pursue hobbies and continue learning new things to stay enthusiastic and energetic.
8. Take a Vacation
Traveling can give you a renewed sense of purpose and enrich your life – all while giving you a break from your everyday life.
Sometimes, we just get tired of being in the same place all of the time.
Plan a vacation with friends or loved ones. A change in scenery may be just what you need to put a little pep in your step. And when you return home, you’ll have plenty of great stories to share with friends.
9. Try Supplements
Sometimes, we need a little extra energy boost that our diet can’t provide. There are many natural herbs and plants that can increase energy levels, including:
- Eleuthero: The root of this Siberian plant can help improve fatigue, lethargy and low stamina.
- Cordyceps: A Chinese fungus that can help you overcome fatigue and weakness while improving mental energy, physical stamina, longevity and sexual vigor.
- Rhodiola: Also known as rose root, this plant grows in the Arctic areas of Asia and Europe. It is often used as a tonic to improve decreased memory, poor attention span and fatigue
Make sure that you talk to your doctor before taking any supplement, especially if you’re on medication.
10. Keep Your Mind Active
Play brain games. Keep your mind engaged. When your mind is active and engaged, you feel less lethargic and sluggish.
Play games that will engage your mind, like chess or Scrabble. You can also find free brain games online or download apps that will train your brain.
Allie has worked in care facilities for the last 15 years providing mobility and health care to seniors of all skill levels. She is passionate about senior advocacy and is and loves to spend her free time in the outdoors.