We spend time wishing we had more energy. We take unhealthy shortcuts by downing Red Bull energy drinks to keep us going, not realizing that these drinks contain high amounts of sugar and caffeine that have landed many people in hospital emergency rooms. The energy drink industry, which nets an estimated $10 billion per year is resulting in a rising number of patients, many of whom are young in being treated in emergency rooms for serious complications related to the high intake of caffeine in drinks like 5-hour energy, Monster Energy and of course, Red Bull.
According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, visits to hospitals because of energy drink complications doubled from 2007 to 2011. 20,783 emergency room visits cited energy drinks as a primary cause of the health condition being treated, including headaches, anxiety, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks.
Many of us are overweight and partake in a diet filled with processed fake food that does not nutrify our bodies and only weighs us down and makes us tired and sick.
Fortunately, there are natural and effective ways you can combat fatigue and increase your energy and vitality. Some of these techniques and habits can also slow the process of aging.
1. Make sure there isn’t something physically wrong. There are several physical reasons why you might have chronic fatigue, from thyroid disease, anemia, sleep apnea, heart disease, to arthritis. The only way you can determine if any of these are the problem is to visit your doctor and be evaluated for these diseases. Many can be treated or reversed so that you can gain energy back.
2. Pay attention to the medications you are taking. Many medications have fatigue as a side effect and only a few of them have this side effect wear off after continued use. If you feel especially tired after starting a medication, talk to your doctor to see if anything can be done.
3. Exercise. While it would seem logical that exercise would make fatigue worse, actually the opposite is true. Being physically active tends to boost your energy levels, not to mention maximize the function of many of your body’s organs. Exercise can help you lose weight, which can further significantly increase your energy. According to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for aerobic activity that is known to increase energy and vitality, especially as we age.
4. Try yoga. Yoga is one exercise that has been shown to improve confidence, lessen fatigue, and clear the mind. Many types of yoga are ideal for just about any fitness level. Yoga has been found to be helpful by research in men and women over the age of 65, who generally have a great problem with fatigue.
5. Keep from being dehydrated. Keep a water bottle filled and chilled for more energy by fighting dehydration. Research on athletes has shown that being dehydrated zaps the energy from their activity. Even if you’re not athletic, staying hydrated with water will give you that added bit of energy you deserve.
6. Get enough sleep. The best way to get enough sleep is to go to bed early and get at least 7-9 hours of sleep. In one 2004 study, it was found that people who got adequate sleep were more vigorous and reported less fatigue. Naps are other ways to freshen up your energy level. Try for short naps, no longer than 30 minutes. Any longer than that and you will have difficulty sleeping during the night. One study showed that a nap followed by a small quantity of caffeine such as a 5-ounce cup of coffee or tea can restore your energy even more.
7. Try omega-3 fatty oils. Fish oil capsules are good for you in many ways. One way, as shown by a 2009 Italian study, to boost energy and have quicker mental reaction times, is to take fish oil capsules containing omega 3 fatty acids. The capsules also restored physical vigor.
8. Become aware of your personal circadian rhythm. Everyone is different in terms of when they have the most energy. Find out if you’re a morning person or a night owl and work with it instead of against it. If you have especially demanding activities to do, choose to do them when you have the most energy to work with.
9. Lose weight. Carrying around extra weight can be exhausting and the only way to rid yourself of that exhaustion is to start a healthy exercise and diet program that will help you shed pounds and feel more vigorous. There are no specific diets that work any better than creating a calorie deficit and working out at least 30 minutes per day.
10. Eat smaller meals. Large meals zap you of energy because the body needs to use a lot of energy to digest them. Think about a time you ate a buffet, where everyone naturally eats too much food, versus a meal that included a salad. More likely than not when you left the buffet you felt exhausted and wishing someone would wheel you out of there, versus the energy you felt after a raw whole food meal such as a salad. Small and frequent meals will keep your blood sugars from fluctuating, giving you steady amounts of food energy throughout the day.