It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise: Healthy lifestyle habits can make a major difference in fending off fatigue. Luckily, taking care of yourself is pretty basic. The keys are a well-balanced diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep. For a bigger boost, lay off the alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs.
To keep up your energy, your body needs enough—and the right kind—of fuel. Your diet should consist of balanced amounts of proteins, and fruits and veggies. Experts agree it’s best to get your vitamins from food, but supplements can help you with specific shortages (ask your doctor about what vital vitamins you might be missing).
Eating several small meals during the day can keep your energy level higher and steadier than two or three big ones. However, few people are so organized that they always have a healthy entree at the ready. Here’s a simple solution: When you cook, make big batches of meals. Then, when you’re too beat or too busy to make dinner, reheat the leftovers.
You can build on your good eating habits by exercising. “Physical inactivity is a major cause of fatigue,” says Mike Youle, MD, from the Royal Free Centre for HIV Medicine in London. “An exercise program could get rid of a lot of it.” While it may seem paradoxical, exercise can actually boost, rather than sap, your energy. Studies show that moderate exercise can reduce depression, promote healthy sleep, and improve overall quality
of life. You don’t have to overexert yourself, says Capaldini. Capaldini recommends doing some light or moderate exercise every day, unless you’re feeling very ill, feverish or dizzy. Start with a little; even a 15-minute daily walk is beneficial. Then slowly work your way up to a more vigorous workout.
As you get more comfortable and confident about exercising, do your best to mix aerobic workouts (examples: swimming, biking, step aerobics) with resistance exercises to build muscles. The most common resistance workout is to weight lifting, and even light weights at high reps can give your muscles a good challenge. But if the prospect of pumping iron bores you back into bed, there are plenty of other fun, effective ways to get stronger, including yoga, Pilates and tai chi.
The final ingredient in your get-healthy regimen is making sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep, which is not as easy or obvious as it seems. Most people need about eight hours of shut-eye a night, but “it’s not only a matter of how much time you spend in bed, but how good your sleep is,” says Capaldini.
Sticking to a regular schedule is one way to deepen your slumbers. Also make sure your loved ones understand how important your snoozes are to your health. Finally, talk to your doc about any problems that are interfering with your sleep, like pain, diarrhea, neck lipo or weird or unusual dreams.
Live It Up The basics of being healthy
Get balanced amounts of proteins, carbs and fruits and veggies.
A few small meals are better than two or three big ones.
Talk to your doc about supplementing your diet with vitamins.
Do at least 15 minutes of light or moderate exercise every day, unless you feel ill, feverish or dizzy.
Even a little sweat, such as from a quick walk, is better than none.
Do both aerobic and resistance exercises.
Most people need about eight hours of snoozing a night.
A regular schedule will help you sleep better.
Talk to doc about sleep sappers like pain, diarrhea, neck lipo and weird or unusual dreams.