Becoming a grandparent is an absolute dream come true for most people. You now get to spend time spoiling a grandchild and seeing how magical the world is all over again through their eyes as they grow up. The only downside to this is that children seem to have boundless energy. Unfortunately, as we age, our energy diminishes and it isn’t always easy to keep your energy levels even throughout the day. In order to improve your energy levels and make the most of your time with your grandchildren, we spoke with Bayhealth Family Medicine Doctor Pavandip Virdi, MD, who provided us with some helpful tips on this topic.
It’s important to make sure you are getting an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet, particularly Vitamin B12 which is associated with energy levels. There are physical symptoms to be aware of that could be a sign that you are deficient in Vitamin B12. In addition to a change in energy level, other common symptoms are tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, trouble walking, sudden changes in mood, or memory problems, and trouble thinking clearly. You can get Vitamin B12 through food from animals such as meat, fish, eggs, and milk. If you believe you might be lacking, schedule an appointment with a Bayhealth provider to see how your vitamin and mineral levels may be affecting your health. Those who eat strictly vegetarian or vegan often don’t get enough Vitamin B12 from their diet alone, so they may want to ask about daily supplements instead.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Staying hydrated can have a huge impact on your energy levels. While it can be easy to reach for a caffeinated beverage when you need a quick boost, it is important to note that a lot of these drinks also contain a great amount of sugar. While the caffeine will most likely provide a boost for a period, the effects of the sugar will cause your energy levels to crash. In order to maintain a steady level of energy, drinking plenty of water will be most beneficial.
Good, restful sleep will also aid in maintaining a steady energy level throughout the day so you can make the most of the time you have with your grandchildren. While seven to eight hours of sleep is still the recommended amount for adults 65 and over according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is important to listen to your body’s needs. In order to get the most restful sleep possible, Dr. Virdi recommends being aware of the times when you are consuming fluids. She recommends that caffeine not be consumed after 12 p.m., and said it is wise to stop drinking water several hours prior to bed. This will ensure that you won’t have to make multiple trips to the restroom, resulting in disrupted sleep.
Exercise is another important factor in maintaining good energy levels. Dr. Virdi recommends getting at least one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate exercise each week. A good option is brisk walking as this is something that you can do with your grandkids! If you have a younger grandchild that is in a stroller, the added challenge of pushing a stroller will serve as weight training without having to lift anything.
As enjoyable as it is to babysit grandkids, it is also important to be aware of your limits. This will look different from person to person, so make sure that you are staying in tune with your body and paying attention to the cues it is giving you.
Another simple step in making sure that you are at your best for your grandchildren is to make sure that all walkways are clear of toys. This will mitigate the potential risk of falling and will allow you to avoid any visits to the ER.
In order to help stimulate the brain, try taking part in some of the activities that your grandchildren are doing. A good example of this is putting together puzzles and reading books.
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