About one in five adults report persistent fatigue, a mental or physical state of extreme tiredness and lack of energy. Feeling frequent fatigue can sabotage your health and quality of life. One of the common reasons people visit the doctor, in fact, is because of fatigue.
In our do-more society, fatigue is rampant. One survey found that 97 percent of American workers have at least one workplace fatigue risk factor, such as working more than 50 hours each week. Over 80 percent have two or more factors.
To cope with fatigue, Americans spend billions of dollars every year for products that promise to boost energy levels. While sports bars or energy drinks might give you a temporary boost, many contain ingredients that can crash your energy levels and create harmful side effects such as increased blood pressure and mental health problems.
If you’re feeling tired but don’t have any important obligations, you might be tempted to crash on the couch with Netflix reruns. You’ll often notice, however, that being sedentary actually makes you more tired.
While it might sound contradictory, you need to expend or use energy to create steady, sustained energy. The best way to do that is to get up and move.
Exercise: The Antidote for Energy Crashes
You’ve likely experienced the invigorating feeling after an intense workout. Research shows that consistent exercise can invigorate you in many ways, including:
- Improving muscle strength and endurance
- Delivering oxygen and nutrients to your heart, lungs, and other organs so they work more efficiently
- Supporting production of mitochondria, the tiny “energy plants” within your cells
- Helping you digest and absorb nutrients from food well 
Studies show that people who exercise regularly have more energy. One review looked at 70 studies on exercise and fatigue. Over 90 percent of those studies showed that people who consistently exercised had less fatigue compared with those who don’t exercise.
Any kind of movement counts to create more energy. Find opportunities to move more, period, such as parking your car further from the grocery store door. If you’re new to fitness or need a convenient plan that works for you, ask your Great Life Chiropractor for any exercise recommendations.
Target Your Energy Thieves
Along with regular exercise to boost energy levels, you will want to minimize or eliminate the things that rob you of energy and keep you tired. Be aware of how these energy thieves show up in your life.
- A sugary, processed diet. Eating foods low in fiber and high in sugar can drain your energy levels and leave you craving more of those foods.
- Nutrient deficiencies. Even when you’re eating a healthy diet, deficiencies in specific nutrients can leave you feeling tired. Deficiencies in vitamin D, for instance, can contribute to fatigue. Other studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help reduce fatigue.
- Your body is about 75 percent water. Even being slightly dehydrated can increase fatigue and lead to other symptoms such as headaches. Keep a canteen nearby and drink plenty of clean, filtered water throughout your day.
- Poor sleep. If you’re not getting great sleep – eight hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep every night – your energy levels will crash the following day.
- Chronic stress can crash your energy levels, disrupt your sleep, and increase feelings of fatigue.
- Caffeine and alcohol. While it might give you a quick pick-me-up, too much caffeine can impair your sleep quality and lower energy levels. So can alcohol, which might help you fall asleep but can lower overall sleep quality.
The Right Exercise Helps You Feel Good
Along with its many other benefits, when you exercise, the body releases endorphins. These peptides act on the opiate receptors in the brain. The endorphins that the body releases after exercise can lower pain and increase a pleasurable feeling, leaving you feeling better and more energized.
To maximize those feel-good endorphins, intensity is key. High-intensity interval training can increase the release of endorphins to the brain more quickly compared with less intense exercise.