Four reasons you might have low energy | How much do you know about lifestyle factors affecting energy levels?
Tiredness and fatigue are unfortunately common and often fixable. An underlying health condition can cause fatigue, so speak to a healthcare professional to rule this out first. Your lifestyle can significantly impact your daily energy levels; for instance, not getting enough sleep, exercise, calories, or nutrients can cause you to feel lethargic, but it can be more complex than that.
According to a recent survey (Revive Active, 2023), Brits rated their energy levels 5.3 out of 10.
We wanted to determine whether Brits have the correct knowledge of a healthy lifestyle. We asked 234 Brits about nutrition, sleep and exercise, and no one was able to answer every question correctly. They also rated their energy levels 5.3 stars out of ten. In this article, you will learn about four lifestyle factors that could affect your energy balance to boost your energy level.
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How to balance macronutrients for a balanced blood sugar level and sustained energy.
A balanced diet should include a variety of vitamins and minerals for balanced energy
The circadian rhythm is crucial for improving energy levels and getting quality sleep
Physical activity can boost energy but too much exercise can have negative impacts on the body
Pay attention to macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fats
You need a balanced diet with carbohydrates, proteins and fats for optimal energy levels. Read about the importance of each macronutrient for positive energy balance.
Carbs are the preferred food choice for dietary energy and usually comprise half of a person’s daily energy intake. Although the carbohydrates in our diet give us energy, they also spike our blood sugar levels, particularly white grains or potatoes. Blood sugar spikes are followed by dips that can make you tired and lethargic. Complex carbohydrates (containing fibre and more complex carbohydrate molecules) such as oats, fruit, brown rice, wholegrains, pulses, or starchy vegetables are preferred food choices for sustained energy; only 26% of Brits knew this (Revive Active, 2023).
Protein (and fibre) is essential for controlling blood sugar spikes when eaten with carbohydrate-rich food. Additionally, dietary protein intake is necessary for maintaining muscle mass and healthy bones – this is crucial for maintaining your physical activity level.
Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet must pay particular attention to protein intake; plant-based protein may be less effective for building/maintaining muscle. Moreover, many plant-based proteins are incomplete, meaning they lack certain essential amino acids. Not many Brits know that quinoa is one of the few complete plant-based proteins (Revive Active, 2023). Including at least 30g of protein in every meal can help you feel satiated, improve diet satisfaction, and control energy levels.
Food sources such as olive oil, grass-fed butter, avocadoes, nuts, seeds or coconut oil should also be included in every meal because they offer plenty of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin K2, vitamin E and omega 3. You also need a fat source at every meal to absorb fat-soluble vitamins from your food and supplements. A balanced diet is the best place to improve your low energy level.
Look at your micronutrient intake
A healthy diet should include vitamins and minerals for optimal energy levels and reduce tiredness.
B vitamins such as Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 all contribute to normal energy-yielding metabolism. Vitamin C and manganese also help to convert your food into energy.
Specific B vitamins also help to reduce tiredness and fatigue, such as folic acid (vitamin B9), niacin, riboflavin B12, B6 and pantothenic acid. Vitamin C, magnesium and iron also help alleviate fatigue. Consider Biotin, magnesium, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, niacin and vitamin C for maintaining normal psychological function for focus and cognitive function.
Only 7% knew that B vitamin complexes are the best place to start for improving energy levels, fatigue and cognitive function. However, choose a super supplement to hit several nutrient groups simultaneously and boost overall health and wellness.
Zest Active contains all eight B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese and amino acids. This powdered, daily food supplement is formulated to boost energy levels, cognitive function, muscle function and immunity.
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Get enough sleep and sleep at the right time
Sleep is often the first thing we sacrifice when our schedules become full. We need eight to ten hours of sleep per night. According to our study, 30% thought six hours was sufficient (Revive Active, 2023). Unfortunately, most of us don’t regularly meet our sleep requirements which can cause us to feel tired during the day.
Most Brits from our survey (Revive Active, 2023) understood the impact of the following on sleep and the circadian rhythm. Are there any that you didn’t know about?
- Blue light (TV, phones etc.) – late-night TV watching or mobile phone use can impact your sleep because these devices emit blue light. Blue light delays melatonin production and worsens sleep quality.
- Late-night eating – If you eat a lot of food before bed, your body struggles to enter a deep sleep because you are still digesting.
- Caffeine - makes you feel more alert and improves performance but at the cost of sleep. Consuming a lot of caffeine or caffeine later in the day could affect your sleep and energy levels the next day.
- Alcohol – it has been well documented that alcohol consumption can disrupt sleep, preventing you from reaching deep, regenerative sleep.
- Exercise – not enough physical activity throughout the day can also make it harder to nod off because you haven’t been sufficiently fatigued.
Just enough exercise
A lack of physical activity can make you feel lethargic during the day. Regular exercise in sedentary individuals is a great way to improve energy levels. Start by exercising at a low-moderate intensity for 40 minutes at least three times a week. After six weeks, your energy levels should have improved. Also, regular exercise can help you build a lasting exercise habit.
It is a common misconception that physical activity always benefits your health. In fact, 35% of Brits thought exercise always improves energy levels (Revive Active, 2023). Over-exercising and under-recovering can lead to excessive tiredness and fatigue, which an insufficient total energy intake can exacerbate. Regular low-intensity exercise is the best for improving tiredness and fatigue and maintaining a healthy weight.
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