7 Ways to Improve Your Energy Levels

tired womanLow energy is one of the most common symptoms seen in private practice. European studies have reported that fatigue is present in a quarter of patients. [i] Similarly, North Americans studies show that roughly 40% of the workforce suffers from fatigue.[ii] Fatigue is associated with significant lost productivity and has a major effect on quality of life. One of the first consequences of low energy is a reduction in physical activity. Fatigue also negatively affects our motivation which can cause withdrawal and social isolation. In patients with arthritis, fatigue is one of the most disabling symptoms together with pain and restrictions in mobility.[iii] Fatigue and stress also cause patients to seek out more energy rich foods that are typically high in sugar and fat. This can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

 

Truth be told, most of us would benefit from having more energy. If you find yourself feeling tired more than you would like, here are several strategies to consider:

 

1. Most importantly, you should make sure you are sleeping well. Key to a good night sleep is to maintain regular sleep and wake cycles. Go to bed at the same time every day and wake up at the same hour in the morning. Avoid oversleeping on the weekend and realize that naps will likely worsen your sleep. Also make sure your bed and bedroom are comfortable and that you have a relaxing bedtime ritual.

 

2. Get regular exercise. After sleep, exercise is your best ally when it comes to feeling energized. Exercise will also help you sleep better. It may appear to be counterintuitive but if you are sedentary and tired, exercise is your best bet to improve energy levels. A review of the literature showed that an astonishing 90% of patients reporting fatigue feel better when they start exercising. All patient groups from children to adults, cancer patients to healthy people benefited from exercise.[iv] Other studies have showed that exercise is more effective than stimulants when it comes to improving energy levels.

 

3. Manage stress more effectively. Taking steps to reduce the stress in your like is also key. Stressful situations or emotions wipe out our energy reserves leaving us with that washed out feeling that we have all experienced at some point. Exercise is one of the most effective stress management strategies. Other effective techniques include better control of your environment to get rid of stress and surrounding yourself with people that will help you feel supported.

 

4. Eat properly. The usual healthy eating advice will help to boost your energy levels. Eat unrefined carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein and fruits and vegetables and you will likely have more energy. Also remember that you will probably have a more pronounced afternoon slump if you eat a lot at lunch, especially if you eat a lot of carbohydrates. Smaller but more frequent meals are usually better for energy levels.

 

5. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol at lunch will make you feel tired in the afternoon. Also, if you drink too much in the evening your sleep will be affected and you will struggle the next day.

 

6. Use caffeine judiciously. Caffeine is a stimulant and will likely give you energy. However, to benefit from caffeine, limit its use for when you really need it. If you overindulge with caffeine, your sleep quality will suffer and so will your energy levels.

 

7. Drink water. If you are dehydrated you will feel more tired and have a harder time concentrating. [v] If you drink soda or sugary juices, your blood sugar will increase rapidly then crash leaving you feeling exhausted.

 

These strategies will not only leave you feeling energized, they will also promote better health and prevent heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity. The more of these strategies you apply the better you will feel and the healthier you are likely to be. Do not let yourself get overwhelmed and feel discouraged, start slowly and remember that there may be set backs but as long as you work at it, in the end you will feel the difference.

 

Ludovic Brunel, ND

Ludovic BrunelLudo is an exceptional physician with strong clinical skills grounded in scientific knowledge. He has helped design and formulated several dietary supplements for some of the most advanced nutraceutical companies in Canada. Dr. Ludo has also helped develop and implement wellness strategies for corporations and businesses looking to improve the health and happiness of their employees.

 

 


  

[1]Cullen W1, Kearney Y, Bury G. Prevalence of fatigue in general practice.Ir J Med Sci. 2002 Jan-Mar;171(1):10-2.[1]

 

(ii)Ricci JA1, Chee E, Lorandeau AL, Berger J. Fatigue in the U.S. workforce: prevalence and implications for lost productive work time.  J Occup Environ Med. 2007 Jan;49(1):1-10.

[iii]Ricci JA1, Chee E, Lorandeau AL, Berger J. Fatigue in the U.S. workforce: prevalence and implications for lost productive work time. J Occup Environ Med. 2007 Jan;49(1):1-10.
[iv]Puetz TW1, O’Connor PJ, Dishman RK. Effects of chronic exercise on feelings of energy and fatigue: a quantitative synthesis.Psychol Bull. 2006 Nov;132(6):866-76.
[v]Armstrong LE1, Ganio MS, Casa DJ, Lee EC, McDermott BP, Klau JF, Jimenez L, Le Bellego L, Chevillotte E, Lieberman HR. Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women.J Nutr. 2012 Feb;142(2):382-8

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