Most days I don’t really mind aging, despite all my complaining about my knee. Besides, until someone creates an actual time machine that can send me back to the 70s, it’s not as if I have a choice.
The only time it truly bothers me is when it takes me five minutes to scroll down an online form to find my birth year.
Or when my aging “symptom” is a stereotypical one, such as the complaints I remember my grandparents using when I was a kid.
Being “too tired” is one of them.
It makes me long for the good old days…
I remember taking two cardio classes a day in my 20s, riding my bike for hours in my 30s and even in my 40s without a problem.
Today, at 57? I just finished decorating the tree and I could use a neck massage, a rocking chair and a blanket for my lap.
What the heck happened?
Aging experts tell me as we get older it takes more energy to do the same task we did in our earlier years. Plus, it takes longer to recover from exercise, as much as twice the recovery time, in fact.
So it’s not all in our heads.
Activities you used to do without thinking when you were a young whippersnapper takes a lot more out of you after 50.
Personally, I find when I do an intense workout, such as one that includes squatting and leg exercises, I’m more tired than usual afterward. Ditto for a long, endurance cardio session.
On these days you can find me with my eyes closed and my head on my desk around 2:00 in the afternoon – or drinking a cup of strong coffee if I need to get something done.
Those are not great solutions.
For better ideas, check out these expert-recommended tips to put some lead in your pencil…
1. Get more sleep
My doctor gave me this advice. Find out how much sleep you need by allowing yourself to wake up without an alarm for a few mornings and observing how long you sleep before you wake up naturally. I need eight solid hours. Most nights I get about 7 to 7-1/2, which results in the head-on-desk syndrome.
2. Drink up
Sorry, I’m talking about water, not wine. Even a slight level of dehydration affects your energy level, as little as 1 to 2%. Your body’s cells need water to fuel activities and chemical reactions. A quick and easy, yet slightly unpleasant check: If your urine is dark yellow, you’re low on water.
3. Check your meds
Fatigue is a side effect of many types of medications, including antihistamines, sleep aids, blood pressure pills, diuretics, steroids and even antibiotics, such as Cipro. Ask your doctor if that may be the case for you.
4. Take an extra day off from exercise
Recovery needs vary from person to person, but as I mentioned earlier, we tend to need more time between workouts as we age. Listen to your body and take an extra day or two off if you’re feeling more tired than usual. Or, if you’re accustomed to high-intensity workouts try a lower key modality like yoga or Pilates instead of HIIT.
5. Lay off alcohol at night
Although a glass of wine initially relaxes you, it also creates a rebound effect after your body metabolizes and eliminates the booze. This causes sleep disturbances and keeps you awake so you’re drowsy the next day. In fact, if you drink before bed on a regular basis, this rebound effect can occur even on nights you abstain.
6. Chill out on sugar and refined carbs
A high-carb meal hikes up blood sugar. And, since what goes up must come down, it then plummets back down. This high-low blood sugar seesaw makes you tired on the down side. Avoid wild swings by eating small, balanced (protein + healthy carb) meals frequently throughout the day instead of one or two large meals.
7. Go for a walk
It sounds counterintuitive, but participants of a University of Georgia study reported a 65 percent drop in fatigue after exercising for 20 minutes at a low-intensity cardio level three times a week.
Do you struggle with low energy during the day? Let me know in the comments section below… I’d love to hear if you’re going to try one of these ideas!
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Your Ageless Body Coach,