Your daily choices, some of which may seem small at the moment, can have a huge impact as you grow older, and play a determining factor in your quality of life. It is important, then, to give more attention to habits that could affect your levels of energy and mobility both now and, in the future..
No doubt you are well aware that as you age changes occur in your body. You lose muscle and bone mass. Weight gain may come too easily, and reaction time slows down.
Although such changes are inevitable as you progress in years, it is possible to slow down the aging process. With a few consistent, healthy habits you can learn to feel more vigorous and mobile at any stage of life.
How to Increase Your Energy
Trying to gain more energy may seem very challenging at first, but consistent effort and determination will yield wonderful rewards.
Try these invigorating strategies:
- Eat for health. As we get older, deficiencies in vitamins and minerals may become more apparent and lead to adverse health conditions.Choosing to eat a well-balanced, whole food plant-based diet will give your body (and mind) the nutrition it needs to stay healthy and vibrant.
- Stay hydrated. Research has shown that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue. Dehydration has also been implicated in joint pain and brain fog. Your thirst sensation tends to decline as you age, so waiting until you feel thirsty before drinking water is a poor gauge for determining body’s hydration needs. Instead of relying on thirst, make water drinking a habit. Carry a water bottle with you so that you’ll remember to drink water throughout the day.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases inflammation in the body, susceptibility to disease, and risk of fatigue. Extra weight can force your body to work harder to do ordinary tasks, including maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Losing just 5 to 10% of your bodyweight can dramatically enhance your overall wellbeing.
- Manage stress. Studies have shown that ongoing stress can negatively impact your body in ways that cause not only exhaustion, but also put you at a higher risk of disease. Gardening, time in nature, or exercise can help to relieve stress.
- Create a sleep hygiene. Don’t believe the myth that elderly individuals need less sleep. Adults, including seniors need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night in order to have and maintain good health. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and ventilated with fresh air.
- Take contrast showers. Start your day with a hot shower for 2 to 3 minutes, then switch immediately to cold for 30 seconds. This will increase blood circulation, flood your system with endorphins, and give you an energy-boosting experience that gets your day off to a great start.
- Have a purpose. Set goals and find different tasks to keep yourself productively busy. Having something to strive for, like learning to play a musical instrument or taking a mission trip, can be mentally and physically energizing.
- Seek social support. Having a sense of community in close and mutually supportive relationships can be a key ingredient to healthy living. Spend time with family, friends or some other group such as church fellowship.
How to Enhance Your Mobility
Movement is a must in order to stay agile. This, of course, can be difficult for some who suffer from achy/stiff joints and muscles that make it challenging to even get out of bed in the morning. Increasing or preserving your range of motion will help to prevent injuries (from things such as falls) and make life more enjoyable.
Increase your mobility with these techniques:
- Boost your balance. You can reduce your risk for debilitating falls by becoming steadier on your feet. Do simple exercises like standing on one foot while you count to 10 or talking on the phone. Initially, it may be helpful to stand near a chair or wall for support until your balance increases.
- Loosen up. Work on your flexibility by doing stretching exercises. Better flexibility improves physical performance, decreases risks of injuries, and helps your muscles and joints have fuller range of motion. Practice daily, especially after exercising.
- Do cardiovascular exercises. Strengthening your heart will help you stay active. Exercises like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, increase cardiovascular functioning, and are easy on the joints. Current guidelines suggest at least 2.5 hours of medium aerobic activity or 1.25 hours of vigorous aerobic activity each week.
- Watch your posture. Slouching and slumping over puts extra strain on your spine. This also inhibits proper breathing which can lead to reduced oxygen in your blood, tissues, and less energy. Practice sitting and standing more erect.
That old saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” is certainly true when it comes to your energy levels and mobility. This does not have to happen. As you age why not enjoy a level of fitness and function that will allow you to grow old with grace. Regular physical activity and other healthy habits can help with this.
Photo by Yan Krukov