Surprisingly, this topic of our bodies feeling heavy and fatigued was given at about the same time that I was personally experiencing sensations of “sluggishness.” In my situation, it’s a combination of not exercising as much as I did a year ago and being busier at work.
I’m just getting back into a workout regimen after moving and having to build up my home gym at my new location.
When it comes to feeling heavy and fatigued, it all boils down to bioenergetics. Bioenergetics is a branch of biochemistry and cell biology concerned with the movement of energy in living systems.
Bioenergetics aims to explain how living creatures get and transform energy in order to execute biological tasks. Whether we feel heavy or weary is closely related to how we obtain, store, and use the energy inside the body.
While bioenergetics is primarily concerned with the energy of the body, one’s overall energy bandwidth is heavily influenced by one’s mental state.
Feeling heavy can be because of stress—let’s face it, I am a startup founder, physician, and mama, so sometimes life feels just a little hectic!
Other times my body feels heavy when I wake up because I fell down the NYC social rabbit hole called the cocktail hour—even one a night adds up, disrupting my sleep, screwing up my sensitive digestion, and slowing down my metabolism. Or it’s just that I’m spending too much time at my computer and not enough time moving my body.
When the body feels heavy, exhausted, and like it needs a good cleanout, it can manifest itself in a few ways. It could be that your chest feels heavy, your head feels heavy, your legs feel heavy, or you have a general sense of fatigue or malaise.
Of course, there’s not going to be just one singular factor in feeling heavy or fatigued. Here are some reasons why your body feels heavy and how you can better optimize your exercise, digestion, and mindfulness to feel lighter and more energized.
Why does my body feel heavy in the first place?
It may be difficult to pinpoint exactly why you may experience either that sudden feeling of heaviness in the body or a more ongoing heaviness. There could be an underlying condition related to your thyroid, insulin processing, or even your mental health.
If any of the following symptoms sound like yours, it’s worth scheduling a consultation with a Parsley Health physician to learn more.
Here are seven reasons why you feel heavy and exhausted in your body.
1. Lack of Sleep
This is most likely one of the primary causes of people feeling heavy and/or weary. I frequently feel like a broken record when it comes to emphasizing the benefits of good sleep, particularly REM sleep.
According to the concept of energy conservation, energy is neither generated nor destroyed. It has the ability to change from one kind to another. According to the energy conservation hypothesis, sleep is required for us to save energy.
When we obtain enough sleep, we minimize our calorie demands by operating on a slower metabolism for a portion of the time. This theory is supported by the fact that our metabolic rate decreases as we sleep.
According to studies, eight hours of sleep can save humans 35 percent of their daily energy compared to total awake. According to the energy conservation hypothesis of sleep, the primary goal of sleep is to minimize a person’s energy use throughout the day and night.
2. Lack of Exercise
Exercise is an intriguing topic since it may be tough to find the desire to work out when you are not feeling motivated. If you do find it in you to exercise, you’ll be amazed at how much it improves your energy levels.
In theory, any type of exercise or physical activity will raise the heart rate and increase blood flow. It will also cause the release of endorphins, which will increase your energy levels. Cardiovascular activities that require effort will generally strengthen your heart and increase your stamina.
After relocating to a new house, I’m in the midst of having my home gym rebuilt. I’ve been slacking on my workouts and training for the past year. I can personally tell you that I have had less physical energy in the last year than I had when I was training frequently.
I’ve been a Lifehack author for a few years, and virtually all of my prior posts were written while I was routinely exercising. I’m writing this as someone who hasn’t exercised enough and can attest firsthand to the fact that exercise produces greater energy.
3. Poor Nutrition and Hydration
Because water makes up the majority of the human body (up to 60%), a lack of hydration will drain energy. According to research, the brain and heart are made up of 73 percent water, while the lungs are made up of 83 percent water.
Water makes up 64 percent of the skin, 79 percent of the muscles and kidneys, and even 31 percent of the bones. If you don’t drink enough water (I recommend natural spring water or alkaline water), you’ll probably have more problems than just a lack of energy.
When it comes to nutrition, it’s a good idea to stay away from too much sugar. Too much sugar can damage the body and brain, resulting in brief bursts of energy (highs) followed by mental fogginess and physical exhaustion.
For a rapid source of energy, I’ve used these sorts of foods right before exercise. However, there is almost little value outside of that use. When you consume sugar in this manner, the crash that follows makes you exhausted and hungry.
Complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein take longer to digest, which means they satisfy your appetite and offer a continuous stream of energy.
Stress is surprisingly underappreciated in our fast-paced world, despite the fact that it is the leading cause of a variety of ailments. One of the signs of stress is a heavy and weary feeling.
Stress has been proven to affect the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, neurological, and reproductive systems. The adrenal glands generate the hormone cortisol, which is released when the body is stressed.
Adrenal fatigue is a condition that causes weariness, cognitive fog, occasional “crashes” throughout the day, and other symptoms.
It’s critical to examine stress in your life completely and take steps to reduce it as much as possible. Monday through Friday, I’m in front of dozens of devices and displays, supervising huge teams of individuals (15 to 30).
On weekends, I take long walks in nature (known in Japan as shinrin-yoku), utilize sensory deprivation chambers, and try out new supplements (being a biohacker).
5. Depression or Anxiety
These are also conditions that should be thoroughly addressed inside oneself before taking steps to ameliorate them. I’m a huge believer in using therapeutic psychedelics like Psilocybin or MDMA.
I’ve tried a number of mushrooms, both psychedelic, and non-psychedelic, and have a lot of experience with them. In reality, I utilize several strains of Psilocybin mushrooms in the bulk of my sensory deprivation tank sessions.
Much study has been done on the advantages of such drugs in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental illnesses.
Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid disease, is a disorder in which the thyroid gland does not generate enough hormones. The metabolism slows down as a result of this disease.
Hypothyroidism, commonly known as an underactive thyroid, causes you to feel fatigued and gain weight. Hormone replacement therapy is a popular treatment for hypothyroidism.
7. Caffeine Overload
As someone who went from five cups of coffee per day to three cups per week, I’m writing this. I’m nearly completely decaf now. I cut down on my coffee consumption since it was hurting my mood and energy levels.
Excessive coffee use can have a negative influence on the adrenal gland, which, as I said before, can lead to poor energy and unpredictable energy dumps.
The most essential thing is to recognize when you’re feeling heavy or fatigued, and then take steps to better your condition. Never accept feeling tired or low-energy as usual, since humans have a tendency to accept such situations as the norm pretty fast. You’re on the right track if you’ve made it this far!
Examine several parts of your life to see where you might improve in order to prioritize your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. I really hope that these seven causes of feeling heavy, weary, or short on energy may assist you in your quest for a healthier and more vibrant self.