At one time or another, everyone feels fatigued, and it becomes more evident as we age. During the middle age years, from the mid-30s to the late 50s, can bring a particular increase in fatigue, as people begin to feel more overworked and burned out. It can be very frustrating to experience, especially if you were, or can remember being, full of energy when you were younger.
Luckily, you don't have to accept fatigue as just a “natural” part of getting older. You can fight feelings of tiredness, and all you need is a bit of willpower, some knowledge and perhaps a spot of coffee here and there.
If you don't get a yearly check-up done by your doctor, it's time to start. Your health examination and the tests your doctor orders can detect potential problems in the early stages.
If you do have a condition or the start of one, your doctor can help treat it now, before it becomes a massive problem and/or impacts your health quality.
Fatigue is a symptom of more than one medical condition, but your doctor will need to do an exam to determine it.
How often you should go depends on your age group… Healthy people under the age of 30 need a physical once every two to three years, and a sexually active woman should have a Pap smear done by 21.
For those between the ages of 30 to 40, a physical should be done every other year, with baseline mammograms recommended for women who are 40. From 50 upwards, a physical should be done every year, and both men and women need to get a colonoscopy done at 50 and every ten years after that.
When you are tired all the time, exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind. But research has shown that regular exercise will boost energy levels, even in people with health conditions such as cancer or fatigue.
Some studies have even shown that exercise is more effective at reducing fatigue than stimulant medications, including those used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Exercising more will bring you a ton of benefits, so all you need to do is set aside some time for it each day. You don't need to run off and join a gym, either, as brisk walks, jogging and other forms of movement will help improve your health and your energy levels.
All you need to do is commit time to it, so take a close look at your schedule and see where you can set aside a half-hour or so to work out.
When your body has spent more fluid that you've taken in, you'll experience dehydration. This condition can be brought on easily, as basic things like urinating, sweating and breathing cause water loss, and it's also a drain on your body and mind.
Drink water frequently over the course of the day to help relieve your fatigue and increase your levels of concentration and alertness.
The amount of water you should drink every day is a debated subject. One easy rule to remember is the 8×8 one, which calls for drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Get a water bottle that you can carry with you to make it easier to hit the eight-glass goal.
Irregular sleeping, or not enough of it, will make fatigue worse. The National Sleep Foundation says that adults 18 and over should get around seven to nine hours a night. Taking a nap from 10 to 30 minutes in the middle of the day can also help ease your feelings of tiredness.
To get into better sleeping habits, try going to bed and waking up around the same time each day. This will get your body into that habitual pattern, which makes it easier for you to stick to the new routine as well.
If you find yourself struggling to get to sleep on time because you have too many things to do, you may need to change how you approach your day so your time is used to accomplish more in the same time span.
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in your health and have been shown in research to help prevent heart conditions and other serious health problems. Since it's used by your body to help generate energy, it may ease fatigue as well.
This fatty acid is found in many foods, including fatty fishes, nuts and flaxseed. Work omega-3 rich foods into your regular diet as often as you can. There are supplements available, but getting this fatty acid through food is the recommended route.
If you do decide to go with supplements, look for ones that have natural sources of this essential acid.
Eating five to six smaller meals over the day, instead of having three larger ones, has become more popular in recent years, particularly among athletes and bodybuilders.
But this style of eating is still being debated in the medical community, so don't worry if you're not doing it yet.
Whether you eat smaller meals throughout the day or stick to the traditional three meals, you still need to eat on a regular schedule to help keep your body full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, which helps to keep fatigue at bay.
Aim for more wholesome foods, such as complex carbs and whole grains, to keep your blood sugar levels regulated. If you're often out and about, have healthy snacks on hand in case you begin to feel tired. This will cut down on the temptation to buy junk food.
Your circadian rhythm – your body's 24-hour “clock” – plays a part in your energy levels. Some people are early birds who have loads of energy earlier in the day. Other people are night owls and do their best work in the evening or later at night.
Chances are you know which category you fall into, so use that to your benefit. Schedule more demanding tasks for the time of day when you are at your best. This way, fatigue won't pop up at the worst possible time, and you'll get more stuff done in a shorter time span.
Feeling tired all the time can be frustrating, but you can take steps to help keep yourself feeling energized and more productive. Make the above changes to your lifestyle today to help boost your energy levels and keep your body as healthy as possible.