At this point I wanted to answer the all important questions: 1) What happens to our energy as we age? And 2) How can we regain the youthful energy we had in our younger days?
First, I will tell you that energy typically does decline as we age. In fact, it’s one of the cardinal symptoms of aging (along with weight gain, cognitive dysfunction, loss of sex drive, among others…). The questions is…why does this happen and what can we do about it?
I will also mention that energy is highly subjective and is up to one’s own interpretation. Other things unrelated to ATP production can also influence how much energy you have. If you’re depressed, stressed, or anxious it is likely you will feel worn out all the time.
In essence, the following lead to a decline in our natural production of ATP:
1) Stress. Both physical and emotional stress can lead to a decrease in energy.
2) Poor diet. Diets high in processed foods do not provide the nutrition necessary for optimum ATP production.
3) Poor diet. Diets high in processed foods have more chemical preservatives and other non-food products that our bodies have to get rid of. This process of toxin removal not only takes a great deal of energy, but ‘bogs down’ our cellular production of ATP.
4) Did I mention poor diet?
5) Hormonal Decline. Our natural production of hormones like Testosterone, DHEA, Thyroid hormone, among others work in harmony when we are young keeping our system balanced for optimum production of ATP.
6) Lack of exercise and regular activity. Our body is reactive in the sense that it will give us what we need if we give it what it needs. Each one of our cells senses energy demand. If we are constantly reminding our cells that we need energy, they will respond by up-regulating the number of mitochondria in each cell thereby increasing both the number of ATP producing machines & the amount of ATP produced by each one.
Well, I try to keep these articles short and sweet, so I’ll save the best for last in a soon to be released edition, Understanding you Energy: Part III. In the final section of this series, I’ll dive into what we can do to improve our energy levels as we age rather than let our declining energy control our activities.