Surprisingly, this topic about our bodies feeling heavy and tired was assigned around the same time that I was personally experiencing feelings 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 tired, 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 our bodies.
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.
While bioenergetics is primarily concerned with the energy of the body, one’s overall energy bandwidth is heavily influenced by one’s mental state. 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.
Energy is neither generated nor destroyed, according to the concept of energy conservation. It has the ability to change from one kind to another.
We require sleep to save energy, according to the energy conservation hypothesis. 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.
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.
After relocating to a new house, I’m in the midst of having my home gym rebuilt. I’ve been slacking on my workout and training for the past year. I can personally tell 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. The brain and heart are made up of 73 percent water, while the lungs are made up of 83 percent water, according to research.
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.
Sugar consumption is harmful to the body and brain, generating brief bursts of energy (highs) followed by mental fogginess, physical weariness, and crashes.
Sugary beverages, sweets, and pastries, in general, inject too much sugar (fuel) into your bloodstream too rapidly.
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.  Stress induces the adrenal glands to generate the hormone cortisol, which leads the body to release it.
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 feasible. 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).
Many people who are depressed complain of a loss of energy, excitement, and a general unwillingness to get out of bed in the morning.
These are also conditions that should be thoroughly addressed inside oneself before taking steps to ameliorate. I’m a huge supporter of therapeutic psychedelics like Psilocybin and 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.
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 glands, which, as I said before, can lead to poor energy and unpredictable energy dumps.
8. Thyroid condition
If your thyroid is underactive especially, (a sign of hypothyroidism, which can occur because of an autoimmune deficiency or lifestyle factors) it can slow your metabolism, and contribute to feeling heavy and sluggish as well.
Not only that, but an underactive thyroid slows other metabolic processes in the body, including digestion. That can result in GI issues like bloating and constipation, and even difficulty with weight management. Because of that, the feeling of heaviness may increase.
9. Food intolerances
Allergies or intolerances to common foods, like dairy and gluten, can be triggers of inflammation in the body. That could be another reason why your body feels heavy and bloated, especially from a digestive standpoint.
The inflammation caused by the allergy or food intolerance can contribute to intestinal bloating. With an intolerance specifically, it may be more difficult for the GI tract to break down the food you’re intolerant of (dairy is a big one), and that can lead to GI distress and discomfort, and bowel irregularity. Whenever your body is working overtime to digest that food, you might experience that heavy, bloated feeling.
10. Insulin resistance
Another sign that your metabolism is not working as it should is insulin resistance, which could lead to the development of diabetes. Basically, your body’s cells are resisting the action of the hormone insulin, which prevents glucose (the fuel the body produces from carbohydrates that you eat) from moving into the cells from the bloodstream.
When glucose is unable to get into your cells and be properly utilized for energy, you’re likely to feel heavy, fatigued, and sluggish. Glucose is essential for your cells to carry out their regular processes and create energy. If you have insulin resistance, the body is less efficient at producing energy, leaving you feeling heavy and tired.
Your iron levels, or lack thereof, might be a factor in feeling fatigue or constant tiredness. Anemia might contribute to sluggishness and exhaustion because of iron deficiency.
Without sufficient iron, your body lacks what it needs to produce hemoglobin, a molecule that helps distribute oxygen throughout the body. And enough oxygen equals energy, so without being adequately oxygenated, you might feel a noticeable lack of energy.
12. Nutritional deficiencies
If your doctor finds you have a vitamin deficiency, they may suggest dietary changes or use supplements.
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!
I really hope that these seven causes for feeling heavy, weary, or short on energy may assist you in your quest for a healthier and more vibrant self.