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Couch Potatoes Unite!

Generate Your Own Energy

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Updated March 26, 2010

If you've ever found yourself sitting on a couch, potato-like, wondering where your energy has gone, have I got a deal for you! No, I'm not promising you thin thighs in 3 minutes a day, nor am I guaranteeing you'll run a marathon by tomorrow. What I'm offering you is a simple way to boost your energy level. No pills, no gadgets, no gimmicks. You only have one task: Get up.

Energy 101

The only way to generate energy is to move your body. The more you sit around, the more tired you feel. Your body generates energy from a variety of sources. When you do things like sprint to catch the bus, you're using your anaerobic energy system. The energy actually comes from ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which relies on glucose (i.e. carbohydrates) as its source of energy. ATP is to your body as gasoline is to a car and there is a limited supply. When you run out of ATP, your body shifts over to the aerobic system, which produces more ATP than the anaerobic system. The aerobic system relies on fatty acids, glucose and glycogen as its energy source. Fat produces 9 calories of energy per gram, while glucose only yields 4 calories per gram, so you can see why you'd get more energy and burn more fat with aerobic training.

The more you exercise, the better your body is at producing more ATP and, therefore, more energy. Being aerobically fit means your body stores more glycogen, which leads to improved endurance. The American Council on Exercise says: "The greater the ability to make ATP aerobically at higher exercise intensities, the more "fit" a client becomes, and the greater the ability to burn fat." (Personal Trainer Manual, p 14). So, the more energy thing is good, right? But that's not all that happens when you're in good shape. When you exercise consistently, your heart can pump more blood and it can also extract more oxygen from the blood pumping through your body.

Now that you know the basics of energy production, take a look at some simple ways to perk up.

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