The human body uses energy for every function that happens internally and externally through physical activity. So, therefore, processes such as thinking, sleeping, walking, and even digesting food require a good supply of energy (or calories), which, of course, comes from the food we eat.
It is important that we keep our energy levels in check because of the impact this has on internal processes, such as building, repairing, and maintaining cells, as well as facilitating waste removal. Water, an essential element, also determines how the body uses energy, mainly because of its role in the chemical process that turns food into energy.
How Does the Body Use Energy?
There are key processes that we can highlight to show how energy is used and perhaps shed light into what causes us to feel low on energy.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): Resting metabolic rate accounts for as much as 60% of total energy use in most people. This energy is used to support breathing, blood circulation, digestion, excretion, and also the work of vital organs.
Body Composition: Muscles consume more energy than other tissues, and so energy use will be influenced by body composition. Age also plays a role here, and teens tend to burn higher energy.
Digestion: This is a unique process that uses varying amounts of energy, depending on the type of food consumed. Fats and proteins are digested at different energy levels than, say, carbohydrates.
Physical Activity: Energy consumption is highly influenced by how active people are, and it’s worth noting that people with high metabolism require massive amounts of energy to perform daily activities (e.g., work or school) when compared to sedentary individuals with low metabolism.
Mental Energy: Brain cells use twice as much energy as other cells, and when we perform activities that require concentrated thought, be it reading, writing, solving complex problems, or daydreaming, the brain requires a lot more energy.
How Do We Convert Food into Energy?
Our bodies digest food by exposing it to acids and enzymes in the stomach. During this process, the carbohydrates are broken down into a more usable product called glucose. Glucose then travels through the intestines, where it is released into the bloodstream to provide energy as needed. Insulin is needed to store extra glucose, so that blood sugar levels stay normal.
Ways to boost Your Energy Levels
1) Get more sleep
We don’t recommend that you sleep all day, but it’s important that you have a good night’s sleep. Try to get at least six hours quality sleep every night.
2) Minimize stress
High stress levels can disrupt normal physiology, including energy levels, so, therefore, it helps to have a method of reducing stress. Try meditating and performing breathing techniques to reduce stress levels.
3) Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
Alcohol tends to increase blood pressure, which is bad for your heart health. In addition, it reduces your ability to maintain high energy levels and disrupts your sleep. Cigarettes are not any better and should be avoided for the risk they pose to vital organs and your respiratory system.
4) Maintain a healthy diet
Since most of our energy comes from food, it makes sense to eat energy-dense foods like fruits and vegetables. Other whole foods, like nuts and grains, also provide energy and are easy to digest. Ideally, fresh food should be consumed in place of packaged products.
5) Stay hydrated
Water consumption is extremely important, and not just for the sake of detoxing or keeping your entire biochemical systems running; water also helps maintain your energy. Without water, it would be difficult for digestion to take place or for nutrients to travel to every cell.
Exertion causes the muscles to convert more food into energy and use up some of the stored fats to make more glucose. Exercise also strengthens existing muscles and creates new muscle tissue, which ultimately creates demand for extra calories.
Symptoms of Low Energy
The most common symptom of low energy is when you get up in the morning feeling exhausted. Now, this may be an indicator of a serious medical condition, so we don’t recommend that you take it lightly. Other symptoms include:
Low sexual drive
Inability to focus
Constantly feeling tired
It takes little effort to sustain high energy. As long as you eat healthy food, sleep through the night, and avoid drugs and alcohol, then you will likely feel energized most of your waking hours.
Consider soaking in the sun in the morning or evening, and try doing yoga, especially the poses, because they do strengthen your body and case you to build energy.
In cases where you notice that you feel tired for no reason, speak to a health expert before the situation turns serious.
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