How to Balance Energy Production

Understanding how your body uses and produces energy is important no matter if you are young or old, an electrician, teacher or professional soccer player. The body is a complex thing, and scientists still don’t understand everything about it, but learning the following basics can help you balance your body’s energy production.

Learn your body type and take note of your lifestyle. Do you sit at a desk all day? Do you work construction? Are you a triathlete? If you don’t exercise several times a week and are slightly overweight, then you are taking in more food (your energy source) than is needed. If you want to keep eating the same amount, then exercise more. In general, 1 lbs. of fat equals 3,500 calories. So to lose 1 lbs. a week, burn off an extra 500 calories a day–or eat 500 less calories a day. Still, not everyone burns calories at the same rate. A BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate, is the rate at which a person burns calories just sitting there, and this is different for everyone.

Eat the right things for the activities you plan to do. You fill up your car with gasoline for a long drive; your body also needs fuel for a long run, a difficult term paper or an extra long day. Unlike cars, which take the same type of fuel all the time, humans must eat a variety of foods to maintain a nutritious diet. So it is not just the calories in a food but all of the vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and sugars as well. Find a food pyramid and get acquainted with it (see Resources below).

Estimate your daily average caloric intake and approximate energy costs for certain activities. When you intake the same amount that you burn off, you will maintain a stable weight. A large percentage of Americans eat more than they need for the activities they engage in. The average person that sits at a desk job all day only needs about 2,000 calories a day. If you are on a multi-day backpacking trip in the mountains, you may need around 4,500 calories per day (about 2 lbs. of food) or more, depending on how heavy your pack and how cool the weather is.

Meet with a nutritionist. Simply taking note of how many calories are in each piece of food you eat, how much you really need and exercising is a good start. Meeting with a professional can help you determine your specific needs for balancing energy and doing it safely (see Resources below).

Understanding how your body uses and produces energy is important no matter if you are young or old