How to have more energy?

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AnalyticalEngine
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Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 am

How to have more energy?

Post by AnalyticalEngine » Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:27 am

I'm wondering if anyone here has ever struggled with fatigue, and if so, what kinds of things helped you have more energy? I know diet and exercise are common recommendations here, but if those worked for you, I'd like to specifically know what kind of diet and what kind of exercise.

Also if you have ever struggled with fatigue, what were your symptoms/can you describe what the fatigue was like? I'm trying to decide how much fatigue is normal and how much might indicate a problem.

Lucky C
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by Lucky C » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:23 pm

I've always considered myself lazy and never one to stick to an exercise routine. I wouldn't be the type to claim that I have chronic fatigue or any real condition besides laziness, but my stamina has always been low and sometimes I simply don't feel like doing anything physical all day. I'm slim, happy with my weight, and have no major health issues, so I don't have any urgent or superficial motivations to move more. I just know that I should exercise more to improve health in general.

The diet I generally follow is: replace sugar with vegetables. Since it is easy for me to remain slim I don't have to be strict, but generally the most important rules I follow are:
- Don't buy sweets (OK to eat occasional sweets e.g. if they are gifted to me).
- Don't bake or buy baked goods, except for whole wheat bread for sandwiches as a convenience.
- Make as much from scratch as possible
- Eat more vegetables, cooked with oil, to make up for calories in foods you're avoiding, so you don't cave and eat a bunch of cookies

For both diet and exercise, the resource that has worked best for me has been The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. I like how the slow carb diet in the book is easier than some other similar diets that may be stricter for no good reason, e.g. primal or keto. I believe keto is an appropriate prescription for obesity with possibly other benefits like treating epilepsy, but for most people just cutting out the sugar and white carbs does plenty and is much simpler.

The exercises in the Four Hour Body appealed to me because they really only took a few hours per month if that's all the time you had available. A more high intensity workout just makes more sense to me in terms of productivity, plus I hate jogging. There are workouts in the book for both losing weight and gaining weight. As an experiment I did the weight gain exercises and gained over 10 lbs. in a month and enjoyed doing it, as much as I can enjoy exercising anyway. I think it's time to give those types of exercises another go because I definitely had more energy back then.

5ts
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by 5ts » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:10 pm

I have run the gamut with fatigue so here are my thoughts. I see three main causes of fatigue: elective/optional fatigue, mental fatigue, and morbid fatigue.

Elective fatigue is by choice. The average person (relatively healthy, reasonable sleep) does not have much fatigue and when they do it is elective. Whatever the cause, they get less sleep than usual and suffer some minor effects from that. It's transient and an extra cup of coffee can mostly solve this.

Mental/psychological fatigue is a sort of disconnected/disinterested fog of fatigue. It's caused by some mental issue. The severity can vary, but it's usually not particularly severe. However, it is relentless and unpleasant. Some unfortunate people suffer severely. It permeates everyday life and can make even the thought of doing something full of fatigue.

Morbid fatigue is from some health disorder and it's unbearable. By far the most severe and debilitating, in general. Some people suffer more with mental related fatigue but this is in general. Everything is a battle, sleep is constantly on your mind, physical function deteriorates and mental function goes on autopilot. It's hard to think deeply about anything.

Here are some possible solutions: Elective - get some sleep sucker. Mental - diet/exercise and consider a mental health evaluation by a professional. Morbid - get to a doctor ASAP then diet/exercise.

Diet: I am not going into specifics since this can be like religion and I don't want to offend anyone. Just experiment with the big diets and see what works for you, paleo/keto/vegetarian/vegan/etc. I think appropriate diet depends on the person, appropriately.

Exercise: Very good stuff. I have less fatigue after exercise. I ride a bike 30 min on most days. I like bikes because it's low impact and you adjust difficulty with gears and terrain. If you don't like actually riding you can hit the stationary bike.

reepicheep
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by reepicheep » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:11 pm

Consider time of year. Modern humans are disconnected from the rhythms of the seasons due to ease of artificial lighting and climate control. Doesn't mean we aren't impacted by winter.

If you're in the northern hemisphere and your fatigue isn't year round or has come on recently, you might be experiencing seasonal affective disorder. It's cold out. Days are shorter and darker. Stress can go up, especially around the holidays. Have you gotten your Vitamin D levels tested recently? Also check thyroid functioning, if possible.

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Alice_AU
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by Alice_AU » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:17 pm

First question is the obvious one: do you sleep well? I’m very sensitive to any distractions, noises, light, temperature, and it takes a lot of conditions to ensure I get a good night sleep. I define good night sleep as falling asleep within few minutes and being pretty much “out of it” entire night, not moving much and definitely not drifting into semi-consciousness at any time during the night. With all my conditions satisfied, I’m able to achieve this most of the time. Before I got it right however, I often would be so tired in the afternoon that I could easily fall asleep even in the work bathroom, given the chance :-)

ertyu
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by ertyu » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:41 am

AE: I stiuggle with fatigue, too. The recommendations are generally all the same: sleep, don't drink alcohol or coffee, stay off the high carb/junk food threadmill, exercise, etcetera.

My opinion is that what works is what you'll do. When one is fatigued, you need low-effort stuff that you'll actually be able to follow through. It shouldn't feel like a burden or yet another thing or you won't do it.

Two that have worked for me are (1) taking a daily multivitamin (D, B12, fish oil, multi), and buying a swell bottle so I can stay consistently hydrated in a plastic-saving and (comparatively) frugal way. I say comparatively because swell bottles cost an arm and a leg. They are, however, quite durable. I keep one nearby and refill it regularly.

Another low-effort one is f.lux or another blue light blocker on your screen devices. I also keep my apartment fairly dimly lit at night. Helps with feeling speepier earlier.

My advice is to brainstorm similar low-hanging fruit and pick that off first.

I am blessed to be single, so what I plan to try next is a nap right after work. I had a colleague who did this: came back home, slept 6pm-10pm, woke up for a couple of hours / sometimes went out, slept from 3 to 7, work at 8. Seemed to work for him. While I don't plan to implement the same, I wonder if life will be better with consistently lying down for a while right off the bat. Might be easier in the winter when days are shorter.

Looking forward to everyone else's suggestions.

ertyu
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by ertyu » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:43 am

5ts wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:10 pm

Mental/psychological fatigue is a sort of disconnected/disinterested fog of fatigue. It's caused by some mental issue. The severity can vary, but it's usually not particularly severe. However, it is relentless and unpleasant. Some unfortunate people suffer severely. It permeates everyday life and can make even the thought of doing something full of fatigue.
ohai, it me, as kids say these days on the internet

5ts
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by 5ts » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:39 pm

@ertyu: I'm sorry. My mental fatigue was mostly situational (too long in school, unsure if that's what I wanted to do "for the rest of my life"). It mostly resolved when the situation changed, but it does linger. I wish I could help.
ertyu wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:41 am

My opinion is that what works is what you'll do. When one is fatigued, you need low-effort stuff that you'll actually be able to follow through. It shouldn't feel like a burden or yet another thing or you won't do it.
Good point. I would walk before running.

sky
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by sky » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:22 pm

I find that a green smoothie gives an energy boost. Blend an apple, banana, hand full of berries and about a half liter of microgreens with a cup of water. I prefer a mix of sunflower and broccoli microgreens.

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C40
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by C40 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:00 pm

I think feelings of fatigue are extremely subjective - both between different people and also for one person at different ages and fitness levels. It's hard to say how much is normal or a problem.

One way to track your own level of actual physical fatigue is:
Check your pulse while still totally relaxed and laying down. Then stand up. After a few seconds, check your pulse again. Log the numbers every day and review them over time. The larger the difference between the two numbers, the more physically fatigued you are.

The basics of being in good health and feeling energized are:
- Physical fitness
- Have low bodyfat
- Good sleep
- Eat well
- Stress/Anxiety levels (low enough) that are ok/good for you
- Feel fulfilled in your life, good mental health
- Good physical health, free of chronic problems

A problem in any of those can cause huge fatigue, even if all the others are great.

Nomad
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Re: How to have more energy?

Post by Nomad » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:37 pm

In the past, I have suffered with low energy levels. I find that many things affect it and the main things that work for me have been.
There have bee several things.

a) switching to a mainly veggie diet.
b) going on a low carb diet ( on the verge of ketosis at times )
c) losing weight and fat.
d) doing some exercise including some strength and cardio.
e) getting good sleep.
f) limiting coffee to a coupe of drinks in the morning.
g) going completely vegan.
h) socialising more and doing more interesting/challenging/rewarding work.

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