For many people, growing older is downright tiring. Weakening bones and muscles, age-related health conditions, and changes in sleep patterns can all make you weary later in life, plus the body doesn’t have the resiliency it once did.
But here’s something that’s bound to put a little pep in your step: no matter what’s causing fatigue, you can boost energy levels at any age. The key is to incorporate habits into your daily routine that promote vigor and stamina — and ditch others that don’t. Try these 10 dos and don’ts for aging with energy and see what a difference they can make to your health, happiness, and vitality.
10 Do’s And Don’ts: Energy Boosters For Seniors
1. Do Eat Energizing Foods
Eating nutritiously is more important than ever for seniors to help stave off illness and promote healthy organ function. There’s even more reason to nourish mindfully as you age, though: It will give you a surge of energy that can last all day.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, you should favor fresh, whole, unprocessed foods that pack high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Berries, nuts and seeds, beans, healthy greens, and lean protein fill the bill. Make sure you consume enough calories to avoid lethargy, too, but not so many you grow tired and sleepy
2. Do Stay Active
If you feel too tired to exercise, try some reverse psychology and get moving anyway. Exercise has been shown to invigorate the body rather than cause fatigue and can be an effective energizer for older adults. The National Council on Aging believes exercise is safe for most seniors, even those with mobility issues and chronic conditions.
Older adults who don’t embrace fitness should still include some form of activity in their daily schedule. Any kind of movement helps recharge the body and brain and provides other perks, including improved sleep and a lower risk of dementia.
3. Do Hydrate Often
Drinking water protects organs, tissues, and teeth, but it also revs up muscles and boosts metabolism, positively impacting energy levels. Unfortunately, seniors tend to fall short of daily water needs due to a reduction of thirst later in life as well as fear of bladder accidents. Not surprisingly, older adults are more prone to dehydration, which leads to fatigue, dizziness, and the potential for more serious health problems.
Make a point to sip water throughout the day by carrying a lightweight water bottle or setting a timer to remind yourself to drink.
4. Do Get Outdoors
Spending time in nature is revitalizing no matter what your age. Breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the sounds of nature can lift anyone’s mood and enhance energy levels.
For older adults, the great outdoors also offers an impressive dose of vitamin D, which has many benefits for senior health and wellness. Just be cautious of spending too much time in the sun unprotected. According to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18% of older adults fail to wear any cancer-preventative sun protection on a regular basis. Get outside safely and enjoy the perks.
5. Do Practice Spirituality
Tending to the inner self is an ideal way to cultivate meaning and purpose as an older adult. Whether you practice mindfulness meditation, yoga, daily prayer, or connecting with the natural world, spirituality refreshes the whole being.
Studies have shown many other advantages to spirituality during the senior years, from reducing depression and stress to lifting mood to enhancing social lives — all of which can increase energy levels and keep you feeling strong, confident, and inspired.
Even a short spiritual session can bring renewed vitality to your day.
6. Don’t Overdo Alone Time
Everyone needs time alone to unwind, reflect, and be productive. But as you age, too much alone time can deplete your energy and give rise to loneliness and isolation, which can have a negative impact on well-being.
Get in the habit of limiting time by yourself by scheduling visits with friends, family, and acquaintances you enjoy and who keep you energized and engaged. If you live alone, it’s even more important to stay connected with people daily. When in-person communication isn’t feasible, reach out to others through social media or by phone.
7. Don’t Sit for Long Periods
Time can fly when you’re engrossed in a good book or browsing the web. But sitting while doing sedentary activities can also be tiring. In fact, the longer you sit, the more tired you’ll become. You can counteract the fatigue by taking breaks from the chair to stretch, bend, or walk around. You’ll help restore blood flow and enjoy an energy rush that can stave off weariness.
Try to avoid sitting for more than a half hour at a time. Break reminder apps are available for download to help alert you that it’s time to move. A brief period of standing may be all you need to revitalize.
8. Don’t Sleep Too Little or Too Much
While a good night’s sleep is necessary for refreshing the body and brain, too much sleep can have the opposite effect. Likewise, not enough shuteye will leave you listless and fatigued.
Experiment with sleep times and learn how many hours are ideal for you to feel alert and maintain a good level of energy throughout the day. Then be diligent about getting that sleep. If necessary, go to bed an hour earlier or take a nap to make up for diminished sleep during the night. If you tend to oversleep, set an alarm to keep your body clock on a regular schedule.
9. Don’t Overlook the Side Effects of Medicine
Medications help treat health conditions and keep you well. Unfortunately, they can also drain your energy. According to the AARP, many common medications taken by older adults today induce fatigue. Examples are blood pressure medications, which slow the heart’s pumping action and depress the central nervous system, and statins, known to interfere with energy production in cells. Talk to your doctor about how to alleviate symptoms.
If alternative medications or natural supplements provide similar benefits without fatigue, consider making the switch.
10. Don’t Get Lazy
Now that you’re a senior adult, you can live life as you please, even if that means lounging around on days you feel like doing nothing. That’s all fine and good as long as you don’t let laziness become a pattern. Canceling your daily walk or outing with friends can further deplete energy levels and leave you weary — and unhappy.
Sticking to routine and commitments, on the other hand, helps combat fatigue and prevent those lazy tendencies from getting the best of you. You’ll also gain fulfillment and satisfaction, which can further boost energy and mood.
Do yourself a favor, and don’t let aging tire you out. With some simple changes to daily living, you can enjoy the senior years with the zip you had as a younger person. That’s something to get energized about.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Many Older Adults Don’t Protect Their Skin from the Sun,” cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/research/articles/older-adults-protect-skin-sun.htm.
Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Age-Defying Energy Levels,” hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/age-defying-energy-levels.
National Council on Aging, “The Life-Changing Benefits of Exercise after 60,” August 30, 2021, ncoa.org/article/the-life-changing-benefits-of-exercise-after-60.
Neel, Dr. Armon B., Jr., “9 Types of Medications That Can Lead to Chronic Fatigue, June 2012, aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-06-2012/medications-that-cause-chronic-fatigue.html.