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Exercise Helps with Mental Fatigue

Summer is here, and the weather will be warm enough to motivate us to get outside and play, exercise, and connect with nature.  Many of us have experienced a different kind of fatigue than what we’re used to over the past few months - Mental fatigue.  Getting out of the house and away from all the screens, technology, and 24/7 news will be a welcome change and a great way to increase our energy levels naturally.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), fatigue is one of the most common modern-day health complaints.  Many people treat their fatigue with excess sugar, energy drinks, or energy-boosting supplements.  Here’ a few tips to naturally increase your energy levels and reduce fatigue.

According to ACE, fatigue is one of the most common modern-day health complaints. Here’ a few tips to increase your energy levels and reduce mental fatigue.Practice deep breathing and mind-body exercises.  We feel better after exercise because we circulate oxygen throughout the body.  Exercises like yoga, pilates, and tai chi help to increase energy levels and relax the mind and body. 

Eat fresh food.  Make a choice to eat fresh foods that provide essential nutrients to your body.  Reduce the amount of processed and packaged foods that contain empty calories (foods with calories but little nutrition).  This may be the hardest thing for you to do if you’re used to snacking.  Give it a try.

Reduce technological stress.  When was the last time you turned off all technology and opened a paper book to read?  Or sat quietly without any noise or distraction?  Computers, smartphones, and tablets can zap our energy by the end of our day.  Take a break and walk away from technology during your day.  It’s also important to reduce your technology use before bed.  Technology devices give off light that tricks the brain into thinking its daytime instead of nighttime. 

Sit less and move more.  Sitting is exhausting.  Get up and move.  Take three or four 10-minute walks throughout your day.  Or take one or two 30-minute walks per day.  Walk and talk with a friend to make it even more fun.

Reduce your caffeine intake.  If you’re using caffeine to increase your energy level, that’s usually a sign that you need to reduce your caffeine intake.  Caffeine doesn’t need to be eliminated.  It just needs to be consumed in moderation.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, we only need 250 mg of caffeine per day, which is about 2.5 cups of regular coffee.

Don’t let fatigue get you down.  Here’s to you enjoying the warm summer weather.

Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the June 4, 2020 edition of the Seaford Star.

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