As you begin to age it becomes more and more common to nod off while watching a movie or struggle to find the energy for every day tasks. Is this lack of energy normal? And more importantly, is this lack of energy healthy?
At Weight Loss Direct we understand that reaching your goals takes energy. To help you keep that energy we decided to figure out why people lose energy as they age and give some simple tips to help increase your energy levels.
In this article we discuss how aging affects energy and simple steps that can help keep you energized.
How Does Aging Affect Energy?
Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging
There are still multiple theories as to how aging affects energy levels. Scientists have not found definite evidence for a specific theory but the Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging is a widely accepted theory for aging and energy loss.
This theory states that as your metabolism works it is producing mitochondrial free radicals. To put it simply Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron. Because free radicals are missing an electron they can attach to relevant molecules inside your cells such as DNA, Proteins, and lipids. By connecting to different molecules in your body the free radicals can cause oxidization and begin to damage the cellular activities in your body.
Free radical production can also be increased when your body is exposed to certain external factors such as sun damage, stress, a poor diet, smoking, and allergens or infections. The damage caused by free radicals takes a long time to make a difference in your body so it’s not something to cause alarm but over the course of five or six decades the damage begins to add up.
So now we know about free radicals and their effect on your body but how does this affect your energy levels? Well it turns out that the mitochondria are particularly susceptible to free radicals. This damage makes mitochondria less efficient when it comes to energy production inside your cells which eventually turns into you having less energy. In addition to a decrease in efficiency your cells can also contain less mitochondria over time which only exacerbates the issue.
Free radicals can be mostly avoided with simple changes to your diet. By cutting back on red meats and highly processed foods, and limiting alcohol you can make a significant difference.
Aging changes your body
The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging is a strong theory when it comes to energy loss but there are other more recognizable changes in your body that lead to a decrease in energy.
It’s not fully understood but as people age they tend to go to sleep earlier and get less deep sleep each night. This leads to wakeful nights that leave you feeling less rested the next day. One theory is a natural decrease in melatonin as you age.
Issues such as sleep apnea can also appear as people begin to age. Sleep apnea when left unchecked can lead to less restful sleep for you or a spouse!
A simple way to avoid this issue is sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and seeing a doctor if snoring begins to disrupt your sleep.
Decreased blood flow:
As people age fat deposits begin to build up along the walls of their blood vessels making them thicker and less flexible which results in a decrease in blood flow as you age. By the time you are 70 or 80 years old it’s possible to lose up to 20% of your blood flow. Decreased blood flow results in a lower threshold for physical activity.
A simple way to avoid or minimize this issue is to incorporate healthy omega 3 fats into your diet and maintaining some form of fitness routine each day.
Drop in mental energy:
Another common experience as people age is a lack of mental energy. Aging can decrease the efficiency of neuron connections in your brain leading to mild memory loss and making it more difficult to focus. While this drop-in efficiency doesn’t directly affect your energy, it can lead to dozing off or increased idleness without significant brain stimulation.
A solution for this problem is to simply keep your brain active on a daily basis. You can do this by playing games, learning a new skill, or reading articles about aging’s effect on energy.
As you age its not uncommon to lose energy. This lack of energy isn’t unhealthy but that doesn’t mean you should just accept it. By making simple changes to your diet, your sleep schedule, and decreasing the time you spend idle you can be proactive and avoid any potential problems.
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