It's been so hot out that Anne's completely lost her energy. She comes home from work, hits the sofa, and wants to stay there. The temperatures have been running around 100 degrees where she lives. She wrote in asking for help getting motivated to do anything---she's tired all the time. Is anyone else feeling like this?
Both the heat and the humidity effect us. Your body works over time trying to cool itself by sweating. Even living in air conditioned comfort, the hot weather can zap the energy right out of you. Air conditioning works by taking the water out of the air, so it's dehydrating not only the air, but your body.
The first order of business is to respect the heat. Don't push yourself to do the same amount of work or exercise outdoors as you normally do when the temperature and humidity levels go up. It's important for your health and safety to do things in the early morning or evening hours, shorten the time you are outside, drink more water, and perhaps find an alternative activity if it's too hot for comfort. Listen to your body. If you are fighting for breath, Stop. Rest. Rehydrate.
For Help Energizing:
- Dehydration is the number one energy zapper. Fluid is necessary to cool your body, so you need to drink more in hotter weather. Water is usually the best hydrator. The golden rule: keep your urine clear or pale. If it is yellow or dark in color, you are dehydrated. Don't let thirst be your guide. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Older people tend to have thirst cues that don't work as well.
- Eat enough. If you skip breakfast or lunch, your blood sugar comes crashing down. Result? The Energizer Bunny has left the building: you're tired. Don't skip meals, and try to have little snacks in between help keep energy going.
- Choose healthy foods. If breakfast was a Pop Tart and lunch was an ice cream, your body is not getting all the healthy nutrients it needs to keep it running smoothly all day: wrong fuel makes the energy level unsteady. Reaching for healthy meals and snacks can really make a difference in energy levels. Try a low fat yogurt with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of high fiber cereal for breakfast, and a whole grain tortilla wrap with left over grilled chicken, apple slices, lettuce, walnuts and a dollop of yogurt on top for lunch.
- Get enough sleep. Most adults need 7 - 8 hours each night. How are you doing? This makes a difference in how much energy you have during the day.
- Too much caffeine. Recent studies have shown that while a moderate amount of caffeine can increase concentration, too much can increase fatigue. If you think you may be getting too much caffeine, cut down very slowly to avoid the infamous "caffeine headache" that can come when cutting back too quickly.
- Too little exercise. Have you been skipping your work out? This can actually cause low energy levels. Getting back into a routine of a moderate workout 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week, can zip that energy level right back up. Outdoor walkers or runners remember to work out earlier or later in the day. Or try something new: hit the local pool and swim laps, jog in the shallow water, or try a water aerobics class. Working out in an air conditioned gym, walking the mall, taking the stairs at work, or doing a walking tape at home would be great, cool ideas for these dog days of summer.
- Medical reasons. If none of these ideas help bring your energy levels up, see your doctor. Sleep apnea, anemia, hypothyroidism, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, and other disorders could be the culprit. If that's the case, you need to have the doc involved.