Fitness Facts: Why am I so tired?
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
Do you feel fatigued all the time? Have a lack of get up and go? Here are the top reasons for having a lack of energy and suggestions to improve your energy level.
Lack of sleep:
This may seem like an obvious reason for fatigue, but statistics show that 1 in 3 of adults in the U.S. are not getting enough sleep. According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it is recommended that people ages 18-60 years old need seven or more hours of sleep for optimal health. If you are not getting at least seven, this can not only cause fatigue but can be detrimental to your health over time.
If your diet is full of sugar, simple carbohydrates and processed food, this will be a major contributor to fatigue. Maintaining a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables; lean, unprocessed meats; and whole grains can boost your energy levels.
A few tips: Never skip breakfast, limit sugar intake, eat at regular intervals and drink enough water. Lack of water in your diet can cause dehydration, which can worsen fatigue.
Lack of exercise:
When you are feeling fatigued, sitting on the couch can seem like the best thing to do. But getting up and moving around can actually re-energize you!
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggests that all adults need 2 hours, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week and need muscle-strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups two or more days per week.
If you are not already exercising, start slowly and work up to the recommendations.
A little stress can be healthy and may make us more alert and able to perform better in tasks such as interviews, but stress is only a positive thing if it is short-lived. Excessive, prolonged stress can cause physical and emotional exhaustion and lead to illness. If the pressures that you face are making you feel overtired or are giving you headaches, migraines or tense muscles, don’t ignore these signals.
If you are making the necessary lifestyle changes but still feel tired all the time, there may be an undiagnosed medical problem.
Some of the most common medical problems that can cause fatigue are anemia, underactive thyroid, diabetes, anxiety, depression, food intolerance, heart disease, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
If you are concerned that you have a medical condition causing fatigue, you will want to discuss this with your health care provider.