Feeling Tired? Tips for Regaining Energy
Do you feel tired or sluggish on a regular basis? You’re not alone. Fatigue is a common problem among teens, adults and seniors. While ongoing fatigue can be a symptom of several conditions, it’s usually the result of simply lifestyle factors that are easy to fix. Here are some common lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your fatigue and how you can correct them.
Eating too many refined carbohydrates
When you’re hungry, are you snacking on crackers and chips? This may be the culprit of why you’re feeling sluggish. Processed carbohydrates like crackers, chips or white bread cause your blood sugar to spike, providing a quick source of energy that can make you feel exhausted when the sugar leaves your cells.
The fix? Eating fiber-rich whole foods that keep you full longer, like veggies, nuts and whole grains. Next time you’re craving a snack, try substituting crackers for a handful of almonds or a slice of whole-grain toast with peanut butter.
Depending too much on caffeine
It’s true that an energy shot or an afternoon cup of coffee can provide a quick energy boost when you’re feeling fatigued. But like refined carbohydrates, caffeine can cause an energy crash after it’s been metabolized. And if you’re in the habit of caffeinating all day long, your dependency on coffee, soda or energy drinks may be to blame for your tiredness.
For most healthy adults, 400mg of caffeine per day is a safe limit. This equates to about four cups of brewed coffee, two energy shots, or ten cans of soda. Keep in mind that there are roughly 39 grams of sugar in just one can of soda, which is more than the daily limit recommended by nutritionists. And sugar is a refined carbohydrate, which means it also causes your energy to crash as soon as it leaves your cells.
Get your natural energy levels back by gradually reducing caffeine intake over 2-3 weeks. Make a point to drink more water and get a good night’s sleep. Fuel your body with nutritious, whole foods as mentioned previously.
Not exercising enough
Are you inactive because you’re tired? As it turns out, being inactive might be the very reason you’re feeling too tired to move. Research has shown that exercising can reduce fatigue in both healthy people and those with illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome. And it doesn’t even have to be a lot – simply taking regular walks or opting to use the stairs can help to rebuild energy levels.
Take a hard look at the amount of exercise you’re getting on a daily basis. If you spend the majority of your day sitting, committing to a few small changes can make a big difference. Try getting up and walking around for a few minutes each hour. Aim for at least 30 minutes of a moderate physical activity each day—walking, swimming, or mowing the lawn are all great ways to get moving.
For more ways to get moving, check out AdventHealth’s upcoming exercise classes and events.
Excessive levels of stress, especially over long periods of time, can cause your energy to plummet. And if you’re someone who responds to stress by avoiding your emotions, you may be making yourself feel even more fatigued.
The solution? Face stress head-on and prioritize self-care during stressful situations. Actively seek ways to reduce stress, address stressful situations rather than letting them continue, and allow yourself time to process and heal from feelings of stress. Try relaxing activities that focus on your mental health, like yoga or meditation.
When it comes to ongoing fatigue, no advice can replace the advice of your doctor. If you’re experiencing chronic fatigue, have a conversation with your doctor. Be honest and upfront about any lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your fatigue. Understanding more about your lifestyle will help your doctor more accurately diagnose the reason for your symptoms.
If you’re in need of a primary care doctor, MyHealthKC can help you find one who’s compatible with your personality and needs. Get started today by taking the quiz.