Health anxiety and health behaviors tend to have a fairly cyclical relationship. For example, the more people know about the health changes they face as they age, the more often and effectively they practice good health behaviors and seek natural healing therapies. This leads them to live longer, healthier lives.
Yet as the median age of the population increases and more people approach (and surpass) age 50, they face — and learn about — more health risks and consequently feel more anxiety about maintaining their health as they age.
Does Aging Lower Energy & Raise Anxiety?
Generally speaking, even people in good health notice a decline in their day-to-day energy levels around age 50. That’s because most people experience a significant change in their metabolism at that time. Specifically, their Resting Metabolic Rate (the number of calories burned at rest) drops below what it had been previously, providing far less fuel for everyday function.
That’s why about seven out of ten people, regardless of age, report feeling some degree of anxiety about experiencing low energy, a decline in cognitive and/or physical function, and losing their independence as they age.
The Vicious Cycle Of Low Energy & Anxiety
The troubling thing about increased health anxiety among older adults — either anticipating or responding to decreased energy — is that anxiety also lowers energy levels. This means low energy/fatigue and anxiety are compounding problems, with the best natural healing protocols for each one (often) effectively targeting both.
The Keys To Age-Defying Energy Levels
The number of adults aged 50 or older has grown significantly in the last five years and will nearly double from 2015-2050. As a result, it is increasingly important for adults approaching and older than age 50 to adopt good health behaviors that can combat decreasing energy levels.
The best of these include:
- Exercise: The single best recommendation health professionals have for high-energy aging is to exercise more than before, with a focus on heart-healthy activity and preserving muscle mass.
- Eat More Energy-Dense Foods: Highly processed foods are often poor providers of natural, nutritional energy; incorporating more whole foods, especially berries and heart-healthy fruits, provides an energy-boosting alternative.
- Sleep Better: Following a health-focused sleep routine is another common recommendation, as most adults significantly neglect their sleep hygiene by having an irregular sleep schedule and using electronics too close to going to sleep.
- Find New Ways To Have Fun: Even people with physical limitations (or who are not particularly excited by repetitive exercise) can benefit from new mentally, visually, and physically stimulating activities (like playing video games, practicing yoga or tai chi, painting, dancing, etc).
- Stay Connected: Loneliness and a sense of disconnection is a strong predictor of feeling chronic fatigue. Maintaining friendships, using social media and online mediums to stay in touch with family, and enrolling in social activities can help.
- Take High-Quality Supplements: Vitamin supplements, like Vitamin D and B12, can often make a big difference in people’s natural energy levels. What’s more, herbal supplements like ashwagandha, beetroot powder, and many herbal teas can help boost energy levels further (though people taking medications should check for interactions first).
- Practice Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness — whether by incorporating mindfulness meditation into a daily routine or otherwise — has a significant positive impact on energy levels. That is because many of the physical and emotional conditions that compound with anxiety and low energy can be moderated with mindfulness.
- Take Steps To Manage Pain, Illness: The fact of the matter is, there is a huge number of emotional and physical health conditions that can exacerbate feelings of fatigue and further compound natural decreases in energy levels. Working with health and wellness professionals to identify and manage these conditions is critical.
Practicing Good Health As We Get Older
The above-listed health behaviors are the most highly recommended and most well-researched actions to prompt natural healing from age-related fatigue. Nevertheless, anyone experiencing fatigue should speak to a physician about how they are feeling, especially before embarking on new exercise routines, nutrition plans, or taking new supplements.