How Australian Boomers Can Boost Their Flagging Energy Levels.
Australian boomers should be enjoying “the best years of their lives” and yet many over 55’s are being dragged down by lifestyle diseases that ruin our hard earned retirement.
I am sure you will have noticed how so many of us are just not comfortable with the fact that as we age, our bodies change. Although it is inevitable, it is at the heart of a flourishing multi-million dollar industry – the anti-aging movement.
As we age we also find we can’t do what we used to do (well, at the same pace anyway), and we often start to feel as though our life experiences are catching up with us at an all too rapid rate. All this tends to have a negative effect on our physical and mental well-being, along with our energy levels.
Whether from injury or illness, or just the fact we are carrying a bit of extra weight from our metabolism slowing down, it can all start to feel like a huge struggle. And it is!
Fortunately there are numerous ways to defy the aging process and become fitter and leaner, leading to increased levels of physical and mental energy.
Simply follow these 6 easily achievable ideas for becoming a better, more active you by boosting your energy levels.
1. Improve Your Lifestyle (some might say diet)
As we age the old adage of, ‘you are what you eat’ becomes even truer. A diet low in saturated fat, higher in fiber and low in highly processed foods is always a good idea, no matter what your age. But, as a person over 60 it is even more important to watch what you eat (and drink).
You should be eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with the addition of some heart healthy grains and legumes. Combine this with high protein foods like lean meat and oily fish (a food that is high in omega 3).
Basically what I am saying here is to follow a Mediterranean style diet although I don’t like the word diet because diets don’t work in the long term. It is all about lifestyle and measurable changes to your lifestyle and environment.
If you don’t know much about this delicious style of eating or are looking for some new recipes to try then check out The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health. It is one of my favourite cookbooks.
It could also be that, among other things, you have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a mineral required to perform vital functions in the body; one good example is for converting glucose into energy.
Try to snack on some raw nuts like almonds or cashews to boost your magnesium levels.
2. Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
You may think getting enough rest is perhaps a way too obvious solution to ensuring your energy levels are maintained and boosted.
But it is a vital ingredient to build on your flagging energy resources.
Try to get into a routine of sleeping and rising at the same time every day. This enables your body to maintain a natural sleep rhythm which then means high quality rest.
Also try to have an hour or so before you lay your head on the pillow at night where there are no distractions. No TV, no bright lights or anything else that might over stimulate your brain.
3. What is Best for Better Baby Boomer Health?
The answer………regular doses of moderate cardio and resistance exercise.
Better baby boomer health relies on making sure you find time to exercise at least four to five times a week. The many benefits of exercise for seniors are more than well proven.
This will improve your fitness and release feel good endorphins leaving an enduring boost to your energy levels and also help to improve your mind and mood. This could be in the form of yoga, walking, swimming bike riding or any other sort of cardiovascular workouts. Also take a few minutes to read The Top 5 Fitness Ideas for Baby Boomers. It has some excellent fitness ideas for you to try as well as a number of links to other interesting articles especially written for baby boomers.
4. Eat Smaller Meals
Generally speaking we all eat too much (and often, a lot of the wrong types of foods).
I know, it’s hard to change but as we get older we still tend to eat similar amounts to what we ate 20 odd years ago. We have to remember most of us are far less active now so we are not burning the same number of calories as we did way back then. The result……..you pile the weight on which in turn causes all sorts of nasty lifestyle diseases.
At least we can do something about it to solve the problem – although it can take quite a bit of self-discipline which is sometimes not so easy.
The old way of eating three larger meals a day has the effect of fluctuating glucose levels within your body, meaning your metabolism can be affected. Try eating smaller meals more often; this can mean a more stable intake of calories during the day.
Well here are a few quick tips to help you get started:
- Use smaller dinner plates.
- Drink a glass of water before starting your meal.
- Don’t have seconds and don’t leave serving dishes of food on the table……..that will only tempt you to go back for seconds.
- Eat smaller portions of grains and starches (e.g. pasta, rice, bread etc.)
- Measure what you cook/eat.
- Choose foods that are higher in fibre.
5. Reduce Your Stress Levels
If you are constantly in a stressed or anxious state of mind then you are unnecessarily using up heaps of energy, not to mention the adverse effects this can have on your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. High cortisol levels increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes so it is not good for boomers to be too stressed.
You need to try and take some time out of your day to reduce your stress levels. This could be as easy as going for a nice relaxing walk in the park or along a river bank or beach, working out at your local fitness gym, doing some Yoga or Tai Chi or you could learn how to meditate and give that a try.
A less stressed existence can only lead to a longer and more energetic life.
5. Drink More Water and Less Alcohol
As we age we also need to be mindful of how hydrated we are.
More than often, being dehydrated will leave you tired, lethargic and it also causes headaches. As mature bodies are around 60% water we often don’t realize when the tank is getting a bit low and needs a top up.
I have two 500ml glasses which I leave strategically placed around the house and I make sure I empty them both twice a day (empty by drinking I mean – not by watering the pot plants!).
Here’s a quick tip that works well for me; if you feel a headache coming on then grab a glass of water before grabbing a Panadol. Try and drink at least 250 to 300 mls in one hit and wait twenty minutes.
The headache will usually go within that time……..you were just dehydrated.
Staying hydrated also helps maintain your cognitive function and will leave you feeling more alert. But beware; alcohol has the opposite effect even though you may think you are far more attractive and funny after a few drinks.
Obviously, over indulging in alcohol can lead to all sorts of issues, the least of which would be a raging hangover. Unfortunately, even small amounts of alcohol can dehydrate your system and can also interfere with your sleep patterns, which is not a good idea (see point 2). I am not saying don’t have one or two of your favourite tipple…..just be moderate and always have a glass of water nearby at the same time.
6. Do What You Love Most
In our older years and through retirement it is even more important we do things we love every single day. It is a matter of keeping your mind active and the body moving.
My motto is, “if you rest you rust”.
This can be continuing to work, enjoying the hobbies we love most, doing some volunteer work, spending time with family or friends, keeping fit by going to the gym or engaging in your favourite sport, travel and anything else that makes you happy.
The most important thing is to find joy every day and look forward to the sun coming up each and every morning!
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn