Creaky knees? Check. Grey hairs? Check. Increasingly early bed times? Check. If you have a similar list to this, then there’s a good chance that you’ve joined us in the land of the middle-aged.
Being middle-aged isn’t all bad. Most of us have paid a decent chunk off our mortgage and have jobs that may feel quite stressful at times, but they do pay us quite well. Plus, we generally have a pretty well established group of friends who are happy to accept us warts and all. There are no airs and graces for us – we know who we are and we’re comfortable in our own skin.
The one thing that a lot of us are lacking is energy. We find ourselves tired quite a lot of the time and consequently lacking in motivation. Years of sitting in front of computer screens have taken their toll and the pandemic didn’t help us either. We drank too much, ate too much and worried a lot!
The same can’t be said for all middle-aged people though. Some of them are as fit as a fucking fiddle and we find ourselves envying those healthy-looking buggers. They still manage to get to the gym 3 times a week, take on multiple projects, go on nights out with friends and regularly indulge their hobbies. How the hell do they do it?
Well, in today’s blog we’re going to look at some tips for maintaining our energy in middle-age. There has to be some simple things that we can do to motivate ourselves to become more like those smug, healthy middle-agers. We want to have some energy too and get things done and stay up late on a weekend without nodding off on the sofa….
Diet is Important
With age comes uncontrollable changes to our bodies. That greasy Friday night pizza you used to enjoy so much now comes with the added consequence of an upset stomach, heartburn and a couple of extra pounds that you never used to worry about. Big meals generally make us feel grotty and sluggish and desperate for a lie down.
To help increase our energy levels, studies show that rather than eating three square meals per day, we should now make sure that we’re not going more than four hours without a snack or a small meal. Equally, what we’re putting into our bodies is more important then ever.
As we get older we should be looking to increase our intake of potassium rich foods such as spinach, avocados and sweet potatoes. Healthy adults require up to 4700 milligrams per day in order to function properly and without this key nutrient you will feel very low motivation to go anywhere or do anything. Potassium is also great for lowering your blood pressure and improving your heart health.
As well as improving our overall diet, now is the time to start taking a good multivitamin to start improving our amount of vitamin B, D, magnesium and iron levels. Getting the right amount of vitamins on a daily basis is key for improving our energy levels, our sleep and our focus.
Post-40 our eye health can begin to deteriorate, so it’s important to eat a diet rich in lycopene which is the phytonutrient that gives tomatoes it’s red colour. Make sure your diet contains lots of vegetables and fruits such as grapefruit, watermelon and of course, tomatoes. This powerful antioxidant can also enhance your mental focus and brain function.
As well as making sure you have a diet rich in colour, try starting your day by including healthy fats in your breakfast such as avocados or nuts. This can help to regulate your metabolism and keep you feeling more full throughout the day. It’s also important to make sure that you’re getting enough protein in your diet and not just through meat. As we get older, it takes us longer to metabolise red meat. Instead opt for more fish, lentils and beans to keep you feeling energised rather than bloated.
Sleep and Exercise are Key
Getting older makes us feel like we need more sleep as our energy drains throughout the day. The temptation for a little afternoon nap is all too real! However, experts say that this is a fallacy.
In the modern world, we tend to spend more time in bed without actually sleeping – instead we check our phones, watch television or end up reading a book to get us off to sleep. Whilst resting is valid, it actually makes it harder to get good quality sleep time.
Instead, they suggest that the only time we spend in bed is sleep time. Avoid naps and aim for four good quality hours of pure unadulterated sleep. For as long as you feel you’re getting good, restful sleep, keep adding half an hour on to it until you reach your optimum sleep time.
As we age, it becomes a lot harder for us to lose weight. Carrying around extra pounds can be a real drain on your energy so it’s important to try and maintain a healthy weight. It doesn’t have to be hard though. As long as you eat a healthy diet, try adding in exercises that you enjoy and feel motivated to actually complete.
Yoga has been shown to have extremely energising effects in people of all ages and can help to strengthen your core and centre your mind. Keeping the energy producers in our cells – our mitochondria – in shape is also a key component in maintaining our energy levels as we get older. Try adding some low impact and high impact exercises such as walking, lifting weights or running into your weekly exercise routine to keep your cells on tip top form.
Mental Health and Self Care are Top Priorities
Looking after our mental outlook becomes so much more important as we get older. Getting rid of stress is key. If you have debts then put together a plan that helps you to pay them off over time and stops that energy-draining worry from affecting your day to day life.
Start saying no to the things that you don’t want to do – your happiness is key! Schedule in downtime for yourself between work and social commitments and you’ll feel so much more excited about doing them, rather than feeling knackered at the thought of them. Make time for the hobbies and activities that you actually enjoy and watch your energy levels soar.
Stop procrastinating and start being honest with yourself about when you’re actually going to do something so that you don’t stress yourself out about it. When you’re trying to do some work and you’re feeling tired, force yourself to read faster and complete the activity faster rather than resorting to caffeine. By making your brain work faster, it could help your body to catch up!
Make time for mindfulness and positive thinking. It’s all too easy to get pulled into a negative thought spiral, especially with the current state of the world. Take time out of your day to focus on all the things in your life that you’re thankful for and it will give you an immense feeling of energised well-being.
We hope that these tips will help you to maintain your energy in middle age. At the end of the day, it’s all about looking after yourself. As we reach our mid-life, we really should learn to start putting ourselves first for a change, don’t you think?