Five reasons you may be low on energy

December 13, 2018

Long days at work combined with trying to maintain a social life or family time can require much more energy than you know. Having consistent energy to do your daily activities is always the goal, but it may not always be the reality for you. If your energy is consistently on ‘E’, check out the following things that may be stealing your energy and how you can snatch it back.

1. You aren’t eating enough protein

Whether you’re a bodybuilder, or an accountant sitting at your desk all day, you need adequate amounts of protein to support your body and your energy levels. People who feel extra tired in the afternoon may feel that way due to skipping out on their protein. Protein helps to slow down your body’s rate of absorption of sugar, which if absorbed too quickly, can cause that dreaded midday crash.

If you want to have sustained levels of energy all day long without downing multiple cups of coffee, Red Bulls, or other caffeinated drinks, you should do a makeover of your breakfast and lunch. Look to balance your portions of protein and carbs in the same meal so you get the immediate energy of the carbs, with the sustaining power from protein.

A perfect breakfast, for example, would be a cup of Greek yogurt (protein) with a cup of berries (carbs). And for lunch, you can have 1 serving of lean protein like chicken, with veggies and quinoa (carbs). These meals have the double power to boost your energy levels like making it last over time, rather than spike super high and crash to rock bottom around 2 o’clock.

2. You don’t exercise often enough

You likely already know that exercise has tons of benefits, from helping you grow stronger, improve your endurance, your breathing, your sleep, and much more. But this piece of news may seem unnatural: you need to exercise regularly to preserve your energy levels throughout the day. Even though some exercises can wear you out at the moment, getting in regular movement is essential to feeling energized from sun up to sun down.

If you have noticed a slump in your energy during the day, try to move for 5 or 10 minutes during the day to get an immediate bolt of energy. This is the perfect trick to increase your energy before you go into a long marathon meeting, or when you have to pay attention to a never-ending conference call. But for everyday energy that helps you avoid the midday crash, aim to move for 30 minutes a day doing your favorite activity that gets your heart pumping.

You can walk, you can dance, you can clean the house, you can run, you can jump on a trampoline, whatever floats your boat! Even after a day or two, you should notice an immediate change in your energy levels. And if you feel more fatigued after you increase your exercise, then check out the next energy zapper that may be the cure.

3. You aren’t adequately hydrated

If you do exercise regularly, but you still notice your energy levels aren’t budging, you may need to take a look at your water bottle, if you can even find it. Whether you sit at a desk all day or run 5Ks every morning, you need a sufficient supply of water to maintain your energy. When you start to get dehydrated, your body starts to suffer and sends you big obvious signals, like low energy levels, drowsiness, headaches, and overtime, physical pain from your thirsty kidneys.

The first step to hydrating properly is to take a look at your urine. If it’s a dark yellow color, you need more water and lots of it. If it’s clear or light yellow, you’re ok. If you’re generally hydrated, but notice slumps in energy after your workout, focus on drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout so that you can replenish the H20 you may lose through your sweat.

4. You’re eating or drinking too much sugar and caffeine

Sugar and caffeine can give you an immediate boost in energy, but that boost comes at a cost. After an hour or sometimes even less, your spiked energy levels can come plummeting down, leaving you feeling more tired than you were to start. The fix here isn’t to go cold turkey and cut out all caffeine and sugar in one day.

If you do, you’ll more than likely go through some withdrawal, and you’ll hate everyone and everything. Instead, we recommend slowly reducing your consumption of sugar and caffeine. A safe amount of caffeine is 1-3 cups of coffee per day. So if you are well above this daily amount, start to cut back one cup at a time.

For sugar, you’ll also want to wean yourself off slowly by using healthier sources of energy like fiber-rich carbs to sustain your energy throughout the day. Fiber, just like protein, helps to slow down your body’s absorption of sugar, so you have a normal level of sustained energy rather than a spike and then the ultimate crash.

5. You may need to see your doctor

If you have tried all the above fixes to help with your energy with no success, then you may need to pay a visit to your doctor to rule out any chronic health conditions. Common, non-serious conditions like anemia may contribute to your low energy levels. If you are anemic, you may just need to take an iron supplement to improve your energy levels.

However, there are more serious conditions like heart disease that can present through fatigue. If you feel extreme fatigue performing basic activities like housework or walking to the mailbox, you should talk to your doctor to rule out any heart issues before things get very serious.

Additionally, diseases like diabetes, sleep apnea, and obesity an also cause your energy to plummet, so talk to your doctor to rule these out as well, if you think you may be at risk.

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