“Fatigue can be described as the lack of energy and motivation (both physical and mental). This is different from drowsiness, a term that describes the need to sleep…Fatigue is a very common complaint and it is important to remember that it is a symptom and not a disease.” – MedicineNet
Fatigue happens to us all, but especially as we age. Hitting middle age years (the mid-30s to late 50s), in particular, is when most people complain of feeling “worn down, “burnt out,” “overworked,” etc. Many of these folks are dealing with increased bouts of fatigue. The good news is that we can counteract this dreaded, tired feeling. All that’s needed is a bit of knowledge and willpower – and maybe a cup of coffee.
Here are 7 things to do if you’re tired all the time
1. Get a checkup.
Do you get an annual checkup – a thorough wellness examination – on a regular basis? Health exams and tests can detect problems before they start. In the event a problem exists, the physician can prescribe a treatment regimen.
Fatigue can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. A physical exam is necessary to determine this.
Duke Health – a medical institute of Duke University – recommends the following for each age group:
– Under 30: a check-up every two to three years. Sexually active women, at the age of 21, should schedule a Pap smear.
– Age 30-40: a physical every other year. Baseline mammograms are recommended for women beginning at age 40.
– Age 50 and over: a yearly physical. Men and women should schedule a colonoscopy at 50 and – in most cases – reschedule every 10 years.
2. Get your body in motion.
Exercise is often the last thing on someone’s mind who’s feeling fatigued. However, numerous studies have concluded that routine exercise is effective at boosting energy levels.
Kerry J. Steward, a professor of medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, states:
“Exercise has consistently been linked to improved vigor and overall quality of life. People who become active have a greater sense of self-confidence. But exercise also improves the working efficiency of your heart, lungs, and muscles…(it’s) the equivalent of improving the fuel efficiency of a car. It gives you more energy for any kind of activity.”
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Dehydration is when the body expels more fluids than it consumes; it is a condition that is both mentally and physically taxing. Sweating, urinating, and even breathing causes the loss of water.
Frequently drinking water throughout the day will mitigate feelings of fatigue, as well as increase our alertness and concentration. Try to get at least 7 to 9, 8-ounce servings of water per day.
4. Have a regular sleep regimen
Inadequate and irregular sleeping patterns not only contributes to fatigue, but it also increases the risk of accidents and injury.
Experts recommend going to bed early enough to ensure a good night’s sleep. For a healthy adult, the Mayo Clinic recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Napping for 10 to 30 minutes during the mid-day is also a terrific habit for keeping fatigue at bay.
Also, try getting into the habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
5. Get some Omega-3
Omega-3 fish oil, in addition to being good for heart health, may increase alertness and combat fatigue. There are plenty of ways to get Omega-3s: fatty fish (e.g. halibut, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna), flaxseeds, and nuts.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily EPA and DHA intake of .3 to .5 grams, and ALA intake of .8 to 1.1 grams. Although it is advised to consume Omega-3 via food, high-quality supplements are also available on the market.
6. Eat regularly
The notion that eating 5 to 6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 larger meals has been a topic of contention among the health community. Certain demographics, such as bodybuilders and athletes, often adhere to the 5-6 meal regime. Most of us stick with the traditional 3-meal schedule.
Regardless of your preference, warding off fatigue requires adequate levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients in the body throughout the day.
Eating wholesome foods, such as whole grains and complex carbs, can help regulate blood sugar levels. It’s a good idea to have some snacks handy in case feelings of fatigue begin to surface.
7. Know your body clock
Understanding our circadian rhythm, the body’s 24-hour “physiological clock,” can have a positive impact on our energy levels. Some people love mornings, and get that “extra boost” to get things done; some folks are “night owls,” and are most productive during the evening.
You probably know which of the two groups you fall into. Use this knowledge to your advantage by scheduling demanding tasks accordingly, which will prevent fatigue from setting in at the wrong time.
Duke Health. (2013, October 2). Should you get an annual physical? Retrieved February 17, 2017, from https://www.dukehealth.org/blog/should-you-get-annual-physical
Kiefer, D., MD (Ed.). (2015). Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements and Prescriptions. Retrieved February 17, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/omega-3s-in-fish-oil-and-supplements-whats-your-best-strategy#1
The Mayo Clinic. (2013). Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid. Retrieved February 17, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil-alpha-linolenic-acid/dosing/hrb-20059372
WebMD Medical Reference. (2015). Dehydration in Adults. Retrieved February 17, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults#1
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