How To Boost Energy Levels: Top Tips For Seniors
March 11th, 2022
Getting older should mean a chance to slow down, spend more time with loved ones, travel, and experience new things. But all of this requires energy, and your body’s energy levels can start to noticeably decline – at just the same time you want to do all those extra activities.
However, there are steps you can take to boost energy levels, including reassessing your diet, taking the right vitamins, getting into a good sleep routine, and keeping your body moving regularly. Read on for our top tips on how seniors can increase energy levels, so you can continue to enjoy a busy, fulfilling lifestyle.
Why Do Our Energy Levels Decline As We Get Older?
As you get older, it’s normal to experience a decline in your energy levels. Your body slows down as you age, aches and pains may be more likely, and you won’t necessarily have the same pace of life that you once did. What’s more, a change in your circumstances, such as the death of a partner or a move into a care home, could leave you feeling far from your usual self.
If you’re concerned about a sudden decline in your energy levels or you’re worried that your mental health may be impacting how you feel, you should always speak to your GP.
Genetics and changes in our cells can be behind a natural decline in energy as we age, and this can begin from the age of 50 onwards, according to research carried out by the Duke University School of Medicine, which looked at the impact of ageing on energy, strength, and endurance levels.
Some 775 people aged from 30 to 100+ had their walking speed, ability to stand on one leg for one minute, and their ability to rise from a chair repeatedly for 30 seconds observed. It was found that declines were always seen when people reached their 50s, even when other factors such as gender were taken into account.
However, Katherine S. Hall, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine, explained: “With proper attention and effort, the ability to function independently can often be preserved with regular exercise.”
If you’re caring for elderly relatives or are approaching this age yourself, it’s important to bear in mind the importance of keeping your body moving regularly to help support your energy levels, strength, and endurance.
What Are The Best Vitamins To Boost Energy Levels?
Making sure you’re consuming the right vitamins and minerals, either through supplements or your diet, could help to support your energy levels. Here are some of the vitamins and minerals you should try to incorporate into your routine:
B vitamins play a key role in turning nutrients into energy, so it’s important to make sure you’re including the likes of vitamin B6 and folic acid (also known as vitamin B9) in your diet. Vitamin B6 is found in foods such as:
Folic acid can be consumed via liver, beans, sunflower seeds, whole grains, spinach, and broccoli.
Vitamin B12 And Iron
Both vitamin B12 and iron may help to reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue. Vitamin B12 is found in foods including:
- Fortified breakfast cereals
A lack of iron in your diet can leave you feeling weak and fatigued – if you’re concerned this may be the case, speak to your GP who will be able to carry out tests for anaemia. You can get more iron into your diet through red meat, poultry, and dark leafy green vegetables, such as spinach.
Vitamin C And Biotin
It’s also important to include vitamin C and biotin in your diet, as these can contribute to your body’s normal energy yielding metabolism.
Biotin is found in foods such as liver, kidney, egg yolks, and bananas, while you can consume vitamin C through citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries.
How To Increase Energy Levels Through Your Diet
It’s important to know how to boost your energy levels through what you eat, as this can be a quick fix on days when you need an extra boost. The NHS has advice on how to follow an ‘Energy Diet’ on its website, which includes the following tips:
- Eat a good breakfast to make sure your body has the energy it needs until lunchtime. Eggs are a good source of filling protein, so try them scrambled or poached on wholemeal bread, or opt for slow-release carbohydrates like porridge oats, which will help to keep you feeling full throughout the morning
- Choose whole grain or wholemeal carbohydrates, as these contain more fibre to help keep you feeling fuller for longer
- Consume plenty of fruit and vegetables – aim for 5 portions every day. Try to snack on fruit and veg instead of quick fixes like crisps, biscuits, or chocolate
- Cut down on sugar – although this can be a quick fix to boost energy, you can crash soon afterwards, leaving you feeling tired and hungry again, and therefore more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks. Read our advice on healthy sugar and salt alternatives
- Make sure you’re consuming plenty of iron from red meat or leafy green vegetables
- Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary, fizzy drinks, as these can leave you feeling bloated and lethargic, and try not to drink too much alcohol. Alcoholic drinks can affect your ability to sleep, and a hangover can leave you severely lacking in energy the following day
How Seniors Can Increase Energy Levels With Exercise
Exercise can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health; when you’re doing something you enjoy and raising your heart rate, your body releases endorphins, giving you a boost that makes you feel good.
Getting out into nature to exercise if you’re able to can feel incredibly refreshing and energising, so try to get out for a brisk walk or cycle at least once a week. Dancing is another great option – it’s a fun way to get your heart rate up and keep your brain engaged with a new skill to learn, and it’s a good way to meet new people with a shared interest too.
If your mobility is more limited, exercises like chair yoga can still be beneficial – the important thing is that you’re keeping your body moving and doing what you can to stay active to help with your energy levels and overall wellbeing.
If you suffer with aching joints and other discomfort, swimming can be a good form of exercise to get your blood pumping around your body to energise you, as it makes your body feel virtually weightless, easing the pressure placed on painful body parts.
How A Good Night’s Sleep Can Boost Your Energy Levels
It’s recommended that people aged 65 and over get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. But as you get older, you may notice changes in your sleeping habits. For example, you may wake up more often throughout the night, find yourself waking up extremely early in the mornings, and you may even experience insomnia.
A good night’s sleep is essential to boost your energy levels for the next day to get your day off to a good start, so it can help to get into the habit of a strict bedtime routine.
If you struggle with insomnia, it’s important to make sure you don’t spend time in bed doing activities that aren’t sleeping; if you’re lying awake feeling frustrated that you can’t sleep, get up and do something else for a little while. This will help your mind and body to associate your bed with sleep and nothing else, which could train your brain to get to sleep quicker over time.
Other recommendations for a good bedtime routine include:
- Don’t eat anything too rich or consume caffeine for a few hours before you want to go to bed
- Avoid watching TV or looking at other screens for an hour before bed. The blue light that screens emit can trick your brain into thinking it’s more awake than it actually is, making it harder for you to nod off
- Try not to nap during the day – if you desperately need a nap, don’t let yourself fall asleep for more than 20 minutes
- Exercise regularly – every day if you can, as this will tire your body out, making it easier for you to get to sleep at night
- Drink a warm, milky, caffeine-free drink as part of your bedtime routine. Not only is this comforting and soothing, but milk also contains the amino acid tryptophan, which may help you to fall asleep
- Use a pillow spray or take a relaxing bath with essential oils known for their calming properties, such as lavender and chamomile. This can relax your mind and body, helping to prepare them for sleep
Give It Some Oomph!
If you or a loved one are living in a New Care home, you can feel reassured that there’ll be plenty of motivation to keep both their spirits and energy levels high.
All of our care home staff have received training under the Oomph! Programme, which is designed to give them the skills they need to provide tailored care home activities to promote residents’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. We pride ourselves on providing fun physical activity, everyday mental stimulation, and opportunities for new experiences and connections for our residents.