Energy surges as we hit fifty five

Posted on: 21 December 2015 by 50connect editorial

A recent poll of 2000 adults by Healthspan, found that there’s a surge of energy at the age of 55 as people become reinvigorated by the thought of retiring.

energy in later life

The research highlighted that it’s in our 30s that our energy levels are at their highest as we juggle a demanding work load, family lives and a gruelling fitness regime.  It also emerged that keeping busy is actually what gives us the most energy with more than eight in 10 admit they have the most energy when they have lots to do.

Sally Brown, BACP-registered psychotherapist said: “Lifestyle does impact on your energy levels but what came through from this study is that energy is strongly affected by state of mind, and that overall attitude to life and feeling happy are our biggest energy source. It could explain why we feel like we have the most energy in our 30s, even though we’re also dealing with the biggest drains on our energy from work and bringing up children.

“The study also highlighted a link between stress and energy levels as we experience an energy surge in our 50s, when we are free from the stress of looking after a young family and a nurturing a fledgling career.”

“Keeping busy can generate its own momentum and give you a sense of purpose. But it’s a fine balance as feeling overwhelmed has the opposite effect and is a massive energy drainer,” says Sally Brown.

Over three-quarters of those surveyed have moments when they feel the need to boost their energy levels slightly and especially at this time of year as things rev up even more and the stress of Christmas does deplete our levels.

Rob Hobson, Healthspan’s Head of Nutrition, said, “Research revealed people are aware of using food, diet and lifestyle to boost their energy.  Having a quick cup of tea or coffee is the most popular way to get a quick boost, followed by having a power nap, drinking some water, going for a walk and eating some chocolate.  I would agree that taking a little time-out during the day, keeping well hydrated and getting outdoors are great ways to re-energise yourself during the day although I could suggest a number of other healthy snacks to maintain energy levels and avoid mid-morning and afternoon slumps."

Rob continues:  ‘We all have busy lives and it's essential to provide the body with enough calories to get you through the day. Avoid skipping meals and choose complex carbohydrates to avoid blood sugar slumps that can leave you fatigued and unbalanced.’

Make sure you're getting plenty of B vitamins as these are required by the body to convert the food you eat into energy. Rob suggests a vitamin B complex or you can find this group of vitamins in grains such as brown rice, barley and quinoa as well as lean proteins such as oily fish and turkey.

Minerals too are important for energy. ‘Low iron levels can lead to fatigue so it's important to include plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet such as lean meats, dark green vegetables, pulses and dried fruits,’ explains Rob.

It also emerged that despite our busy and hectic lives helping to keep our energy levels high, our job is also the biggest drain on them, followed by worries/anxiety and the drain of day-to-day chores and our children. Plus, one of the biggest energy drains is not a physical illness but depression mental illness such as depression.

Dr Hilary Jones, GP and a spokesman for Healthspan added: “This time of year is hectic but for many it can be filled with anxiety and depression so looking at diet, lifestyle and natural alternatives to support our energy and mental wellbeing is a wise seasonal investment.” 

Top five energy drains

  1. Job
  2. Worry/anxiety
  3. Day-to-day chores
  4. Children
  5. A chronic health or mental health condition

 

Our favourite energy boosters:

  1. Cup of tea or coffee (61%)
  2. Power nap (46%)
  3. Drinking water (42%)
  4. Walking outside (40%)
  5. Eating chocolate (35%)

 

Top tips for boosting energy over the Christmas season

1 Get active. Nothing energises like exercise. Studies show even a ten-minute brisk walk raises energy levels for up to two hours afterwards.

2 Get a hit of daylight. Lack of vitamin D can impact on energy levels at this time of year. If you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, get out for a lunchtime walk, and consider topping up vitamin D levels with a supplement.

3 Spend time with positive people. Energy is contagious so spend time with people who make you laugh and feel positive about life.

4 Do a good deed. Research shows voluntary work boosts energy by enhancing six aspects of wellbeing - happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health, and mood. You might not have time to volunteer at a homeless shelter, but could you donate your old coats and jumpers?

5 Get some herbal help. Vitamins such as B12 and CoQ10 will help plus the herb Guarana contains caffeine and there’s also some research that Ginseng improves mood and energy.

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