Tips on how to fight fatigue as the summer approaches in the UAE

Residents of countries with a hot climate, such as the UAE, can suffer from sluggishness, depression and fatigue as the body clock struggles to cope with the onset of summer.

The transition from spring to summer can lead to a hormonal imbalance. Getty Images
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Lost that spring in your step lately? Blame it on the changing seasons.

While Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common in cold countries, where the lack of sunlight can cause winter blues – residents of countries with a hot climate, such as the UAE – can suffer from sluggishness, depression and fatigue as the body clock struggles to cope with the onset of summer.

Eva Clarke, a fitness trainer at New York University Abu Dhabi and founder of HUA Fitness, says she often sees a dip in energy levels in even the fittest of athletes as the hottest months roll around.

“As it gets hotter, you feel like you are expending a lot more energy just to keep up with the humidity,” says Clarke. “The air feels thicker and the physical adaptation is intense.”

Mohamed Ahmed Raslan Omar, an internal medicine specialist at Burjeel Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi, says the transition from spring to summer can also lead to a hormonal imbalance.

In the cooler months, the body works to produce more melatonin (the sleep hormone), then switches to producing the mood-stabilising serotonin as temperatures rise, which contributes to fluctuating energy levels.

“People tend to notice a lack of energy during this period,” says Omar.

“Such [hormonal] changes also affect immunity and more people are likely to fall ill during this period.”

Dina Ghandour, a yoga teacher in Dubai, says this kind of hormonal imbalance can be alleviated by practising calming poses and stretches.

“Yoga is definitely a hormone regulator,” she says. “Anyone who takes a yoga class that includes most of the main postures – forward bends, standing poses and inversions – is likely to engage most, if not all, glands and organs in the body related to healthy hormone development.”

Ghandour says pranayama, or breathing exercise, helps relax the mind, steady nerves and prevent mood swings, and “has been proven to battle anxiety and depression, as well as boost energy levels”.

While exercise is important, Dubai dietician Hala Barghout stresses that being mindful of nutrition also plays a big part in keeping fatigue and depression at bay, especially given that many people suffer from a loss of appetite during this time.

The focus should continue to be on a balanced diet, and consuming more fluids helps to prevent dehydration, which greatly affects your energy and ability to bounce back, says Barghout.

“Reduce the consumption of diuretics such as caffeine and cigarettes, which can lead to dehydration and low energy,” she says.

aahmed@thenational.ae​

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