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Low Energy? 6 Things that will make a difference

In the midst of juggling personal, professional, and family responsibilities, it’s no wonder many women find themselves grappling with low energy levels, especially during middle age when hormones start fluctuating during perimenopause and adding into the mix. This can feel like a relentless cycle of fatigue that's hard to break. However, by implementing some straightforward, evidence-based strategies, you can significantly enhance your energy levels. Here’s how:

1. The Foundation of Energy: Prioritising Sleep

Sleep isn't just a luxury; it's a fundamental pillar of health. During sleep, your body undergoes vital repair and rejuvenation processes that affect your physical, hormonal, and mental energy levels throughout the day. So even if you think you can cope with a lack of sleep - remember its more than just being able to push through the fatigue each day, that lack of sleep is affecting your hunger and mood too.

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Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Practical steps you can take to improve your sleep quality:

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends.

  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine to signal your body it's time to wind down.

  • Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep: cool, dark, and quiet.

2. Hydrate Smartly for Sustained Energy Levels

Often overlooked but it always staggers me how much hydration plays a pivotal role in maintaining energy levels. Even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue, impaired cognitive function, and mood swings.

To stay hydrated:

  • Aim to drink at least 2 litres of water daily, more if you're active or it's hot.

  • Carry a water bottle as a reminder to drink regularly.

  • Incorporate water-rich foods into your diet, such as fruits and vegetables.

3. Nutrition: The Fuel for Your Body

A balanced diet rich in whole foods provides the nutrients your body needs to produce energy. you also need to ensure that your calories are not too low (even if you are trying to diet/lose fat)

To optimise your nutrition:

  • Focus on incorporating a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains into your meals. Start by adding in more fruit and vegetables into your diet over the next few weeks aiming for your 5 a day, most of us don't get that minimum recommended daily dose.

  • Look at ways to minimise processed foods and sugar in your diet, which can lead to energy crashes. My go-to swaps for sweet chocolate/biscuit treats are a piece of fruit, a fruit protein smoothie, or as the summer comes along frozen greek yoghurt bark

  • Are your calories too low?

  • Listen to Your Body: Undereating can lead to fatigue, affecting your energy and mood. It's essential to fuel your body adequately, especially during middle age and perimenopause when your body's needs may change.

  • Fuel Wisely: Ensure your diet is rich in nutrients and provides enough calories to support your daily activities and metabolic health.

  • Seek Balance: Finding the right balance in your diet can help manage weight, improve energy levels, and support overall health during hormonal changes.

4. The Energising Power of Physical Activity

Regular exercise isn't just for maintaining a healthy weight; it's a direct line to boosting your energy levels. Sounds counter intuitive right, but physical activity increases oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, helping your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. It is hard to make the first move but it's a step worth taking

To incorporate more activity into your life:

  • Remember, any movement counts—start with walking, or a kitchen disco for a few tracks and then build up to longer sessions/more intensive activities over time.

  • Choose activities you enjoy, making it more likely you'll stick with them.

  • Aim to work up to at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week.

5. Managing Stress

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Chronic stress can be a significant drain on your energy reserves. Implementing stress management techniques can help preserve your energy for activities you enjoy. To manage stress:

  • Practice mindfulness or meditation to help clear your mind.

  • Engage in hobbies or activities that relax and rejuvenate you.

  • Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if stress feels unmanageable.

6. Navigating Energy Fluctuations in Perimenopause

A common yet less discussed factor affecting energy levels in women during midlife is the fluctuation of hormones during perimenopause. These hormonal changes can significantly impact your energy, mood, and overall sense of well-being. Understanding and addressing these fluctuations can play a crucial role in maintaining your energy levels.

  • Recognise the Signs: Symptoms like irregular periods, sleep disturbances, hot flashes, and mood swings can indicate hormonal fluctuations. These changes can drain your energy and disrupt your daily life.

  • Seek Professional Advice: Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide you with strategies to manage these symptoms. They might suggest lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, or even hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as ways to stabilise your energy levels.

  • Lifestyle Adjustments for Hormonal Balance: Incorporating stress-reduction techniques, regular exercise, and a balanced diet can help mitigate some of the impacts of hormone fluctuations. Natural supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin B complex, might also be recommended to support hormonal health.

  • Community Support: Connecting with others going through similar experiences can provide emotional support and practical advice to help navigate this transition.

Understanding how your body is changing s important so that you can take proactive steps towards maintaining your energy and embracing this time of life.

Taking the First Step

Remember that all of the above are evidence-based ways you can make a difference to how you feel, to improve your energy levels. But they all require you to make some changes to how you currently live, and all change is hard, so start with small, manageable changes, and be patient with yourself as you adjust to new habits.

If you want more advice and support on your fitness and fat loss journey, follow me on Instagram @fitforapurposeuk.

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