After a long day or a hard workout, we all feel tired. Tiredness can actually be a good thing – it helps you to sleep, and is often a sign that you are relaxed. However, when you feel tired all of the time and can’t seem to get all your energy levels up, then that’s fatigue, not tiredness – and you need to do something about it. Normally, fatigue isn’t serious – and there are plenty of things that you can do about it. Let’s look at some ways to put that zip back in your life.
Get yourself tested
If you don’t have any get up and go, it may be time to get everything checked out. Conditions such as an underactive thyroid, diabetes or anemia can all cause fatigue, as can some more serious disorders such as cancer. It’s a good idea to get some lab tests to rule these out, which you can ask your doctor to do – or you can have them done by a good laboratory such as Health Testing Centers. Lab tests put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on the factors you can control.
People are often scared to get lab tests because they are worried they will find out that something is seriously wrong. However, the chances are that all your lab tests will come back clean, and if they don’t, most conditions that cause fatigue are easily treatable. Furthermore, if you do have a dangerous condition, it’s much better to know about it so it can be dealt with, rather than leaving it until things are too late.
Eat for energy
You will often feel fatigued if you don’t eat a balanced diet. You need to get plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and protein, along with high-energy foods such as brown rice or quinoa. Make sure that you are getting all the right vitamins and minerals – a balanced diet should give you this, but if you’re not sure, take a multivitamin supplement.
As part of your balanced diet, eat foods that are high in magnesium. Your body uses magnesium to convert the glucose in your blood into energy – so you will feel fatigued if your magnesium levels are low.
In fact, a study at the Human Nutrition Research Center found that women who didn’t have enough magnesium needed more oxygen to do physical tasks and had high heart rates – both of which cause fatigue. To make sure that you get enough, eat a handful of almonds each day or have some bran cereal in the morning.
When you are fatigued, the last thing that you want to do is exercise – after all, if you’re already tired, won’t exercising just make it worse? No it won’t. Getting regular physical activity every day actually increases your energy levels. Of course, a good workout is wonderful, but even if you only have time to take a quick walk around the block, it’s going to make a big difference. One study showed that a brisk 10-minute walk can increase your energy levels for up to 2 hours, and that if you keep on doing this every morning, your energy levels will stay up for the entire day.
Try to relax
If you have a healthy lifestyle and there is nothing medically wrong with you, then the most likely cause of your fatigue is stress. Stress is caused by anxiety, and anxiety makes us use up tons of energy. This was fine when we were evolving and living off the land – releasing a burst of energy when we were being attacked by a predator saved our lives. However, today’s modern world is very different. Often, we experience mild anxiety all of the time – resulting in low-level chronic stress. This leaves us exhausted and unable to get going – which makes the fatigue even worse.
Aside from stress, anger can also cause fatigue. Try not to get worked up when things go wrong – you expend all of your energy bottling up your anger, leaving you completely exhausted. If you have an uncontrollable desire to punch a hole through the wall, take a deep breath, walk away and forget about it. Even better, go down to the gym and work out your aggression – this will make you relax and boost your energy levels.
Finally, ask yourself if you are depressed. This can cause profound fatigue, and isn’t easy to overcome. Sometimes, trying to divert yourself can help – but if you are struggling, go and get professional help.
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES