Losing Energy?

My mother had a saying about energy levels (that I am sure she got from someone else).  She would say, “My get up and go, got up and went.”  On that subject, a reader questions what you can do about loss of energy as we age + a medical update on Mas Kimball and me.

What To Do?

Gary Pederson writes, “Once one reaches 80, the body changes.  I would love for you to address the entire group with request: For those of you 80 and over how do you maintain your energy level? Thanks.”

When my late mother was 92 years old, she questioned why “she was tired all the time.”  And I told her, “I can give you 92 reasons why you feel tired.”  So, I think after you pass a certain age (65? 70? 75?) you naturally feel less energetic; but is there anything you can do to minimize that natural course?

Listen To Your Body

An old runner’s adage when trying to decide whether to go out and hit the road was “Listen to your body.”  The meaning was: if you weren’t motivated to get out and do your exercise, was it because your BODY was telling you – because of fatigue or injury — to take it easy?  Or, was your MIND falsely telling you this would be a good day to just take a nap; but you really were OK to go out and run.

The same thing I think is true as we age… Sometimes the body will tell us it really is time to relax, skip the work out, or even take a nap.  But other times it becomes “mind over matter” and we just make ourselves go out and follow the routine.

What To Do/Take?

In my opinion, one of the most important factors in maintaining a good energy level is getting a good night’s sleep.  All the “experts” agree that keeping a good routine of going to bed at the same time and getting 7-8 hours of sleep is vital to maintaining good health.

Others believe in vitamins and supplements to boost energy levels.  According to one health organization, “It’s true that B vitamins are involved in energy production, but the vitamins aren’t the source of energy. Only food provides energy in the form of calories from carbs, fat, and protein. Rather, B vitamins help convert dietary energy into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the form of energy that your body uses, in a series of complex chemical reactions. B vitamins also are not stimulants like caffeine.”

And I am not a believer in taking caffeine-loaded drinks to boost energy; but obviously by sales numbers, many people do think they work.

How about YOU, what do you do/feel about maintaining energy levels?

Mas and his pills

Mas Kimball (pancreatic cancer) writes, Monday, between a blood draw, a consultation with a member of my team, and then the actual chemo treatment, I was at the hospital for 9 hours. The extended stay was due to 1) a first-time visit where they need to go over everything that may or may not occur during the treatment, 2) scheduling of the rest of my appointments, and 3) a review of my blood draw necessitated a slight change in the chemo delivery which delayed getting my chemo meds by an hour.

The actual chemo treatment went very well. They sent me back to the hotel with a portable chemo pump that continues to administer the chemo for another 46 hours. I’ll go back to the hospital tomorrow to get the pump disconnected and then head home.

I feel OK under the circumstances. I’m filling my day with watching movies, just a little news, answering emails and text messages, doing some NSMTA and USTA work, NAPPING (essential!), and eating as much as possible even though I have no appetite.

So … all in all, things are going as well as can be expected. I am keeping my spirits up. The emails and text messages are really helping. Also, a friend of mine, who lives in the Boston area, organized some of my family and friends to email her little notes of encouragement, jokes, funny stories, etc. She then printed them all out on separate, little pieces of paper and place them all in a “My Smiling Jar”. I take a few out at a time to read. They always bring a chuckle and a smile to my face. What a great idea!

Well that’s all the news that’s fit to print for now. Be well, stay healthy and wash those hands! Mas

George Wachtel (heart) – My heart issues now fall into three categories…

  1. Aortic Aneurysm (tear in the inner layer of the aorta) – they “believe” the echocardiogram I took shows a small one; so I am scheduled for a more definitive MRI on the 22nd.
  2.  High Calcium Score – with 0-400 being the acceptable range, my score of 1,411 has them concerned. So, even though I successfully passed the nuclear stress test, they will schedule me for an exploratory heart catheterization in early January (can’t be too life threatening, huh?).
  3. Bradycardia (slow heart rate) – my three-day monitor wearing showed a regular rate in the low 30 beats a minute, with a couple dropping into the 20s; so it appears that a pacemaker is in my future (after the catheterization).

Stay tuned.

Know someone who should read this?  Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com

Christmas gift? If you are looking for something to give a tennis-playing friend, consider my book, “Senior Tennis.” Available at Amazon.com (just click on the link in the upper-right of the blog page) or through a number of tennis clubs/shops (see the list at “My Book” on my website).

13 thoughts on “Losing Energy?

  1. Good luck George! And, to Mas too!

    Jeff, on behalf of me and all my senior friends on the mend (Fred, Evert, Mas, Whitey, Lenny, Bob D, just to name a few!), i thank you! george

  2. Mas
    You are one of my local tennis heroes. I hope the treatment helps and that you will be back on the courts soon.

  3. A nap in the afternoon in my opinion is the most amazing way to replenish your energy! Espresso, single shot, does wonders for the get up and go too. To all…enjoy every day and move your feet!

  4. George……..hopefully you will do fine with your heart problems. The doctors are so smart now along with technology, they will define your problem and send you along your merry way for 10 more years of glorious tennis. I flatlined and actually died in the middle of a match at tha Southern Closed 5 yrs. ago. The Dr’s operated on a closed artery and I was playing tennis a month later.
    Your future is bright and I wish you the best.
    Also, my best to Mas….

    Charlie, thanks, but i want MORE than 10 years of added playing time! george

  5. Just as we chronologically age, all the cells and tissues in the body age as well, resulting in the inevitable fatigue and wear and tear on the body, as the organs function at a lower rate.
    George, you are correct about getting enough sleep being very important. Sleep rejuvenates the body. Also, diet needs to be more healthfully oriented as we age. Not least is getting enough exercise, age related of course. Activity does need to be modified as we age, however “use it or lose it” is an appropriate aphorism.

    Doc, great advice… and i will see you on the court tomorrow morning! george

  6. Good luck George on your tests. As you are capable of playing 5 times per week, you’ll pass with flying colors.

    Me, thanks. George

  7. Thanks for letting us know your diagnosis
    My Zimbabwean schoolmate Hank Irvine has had great tennis success after he mastered his cardiac issues so we can all be inspired by his example

  8. If you’re playing high level senior tennis and are symptom free with “low 30 beats a minute”, how the heck do they figure out what your particular ideal pace rate should *be*?? Makes me wonder how much experience *anybody* has in dealing with those kinds of numbers and a symptom-free patient. First, do no harm. . .

    Have they considered the possibility that you are of a different species?

    Kevin, my wife says i am! thanks, george

  9. George, stay positive. I know you will be diligent and dedicated in resolving your heart issues. Listen to all your doctors’ advice and you will enjoy many more active years ahead.

    In regards to energy drinks, I feel they contain too much caffeine content, which in turn would cause me to become “jittery”, especially playing tennis. So, I avoid those and other sport drinks which contain sugar. H2O is my preferred hydration drink. Besides staying hydrated, other areas which help me with energy levels are proper nutrition, exercise (strengthening and light stretching) during the day to help loosen the joints and helps get the blood flowing. And lastly, the best of all, as you mentioned, a good night’s sleep of 7-8 hours. Good sleep is critical to your body and mind health. Staying well rested is important for healthy immune function as well as being able to sustain alertness and focus for much of the day.

    Glenn, any caffeine (like chocolate) after 4 pm will keep we awake at night! thanks, george

  10. Energy naturally dissipates as we age … it does so for all living things ….nothing wrong with that. Someone 75 simply does not have the levels of energy compared to a 5 year old…. but why shouldn’t a 90 year old feel the joy and exuberance of life just like a 5 year old … … herein lies the “secret” in my very humble opinion . The energy is one thing …. the joy never has to leave us….

    Marc, good thoughts. We can focus on our JOY after our afternoon nap! thanks, george

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