If you feel as though you’re moving through quicksand lately, you’re certainly not alone. Most of us experience a bit of a “slowdown” after age 60 or so, but you don’t have to accept lethargy as a new way of life. There are things you can do to recover some of your energy and feel better throughout the day.
Those things actually might surprise you, and they have nothing to do with getting more quality sleep (we assume you’ve already tried that).
First, you need to eat more protein. Many of us are simply not eating enough protein each day. Aside from building lean muscle tissue, protein functions to keep our blood sugar levels even and help us to feel full between meals. But when you don’t get enough protein in your diet, you’ll experience those blood sugar highs and crashes, that leave you feeling wiped out. Ironically, you might reach for sugary snacks, which only continue the exhausting cycle.
But how much protein do you need? The Recommended Daily Allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is the minimum amount your body needs to function, but you might require a bit more if you’re very active. Discuss your specific nutritional requirements in further detail with your doctor or a nutritionist.
Second, while it might seem counterintuitive, you need more exercise! Specifically, strength-training exercises help to build muscle (which often begins to atrophy when we get older). And when your muscles are stronger, daily activities feel easier. You’ll be less tired, both physically and mentally.
But of course, you shouldn’t drastically change your exercise habits or diet without consulting with a doctor. Seek a screening for underlying conditions that could make exercise more challenging for you and follow your doctor’s or a personal trainer’s advice on exercise to stay safe.