|Energy as fuel|
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Our body runs on energy. Just like a car, a mobile phone or a plant. We consume food; which our body converts into energy it can use to power our body.
Different types of food contain different types of energy e.g. sugar relative to carbohydrates.
Our body burns fuel all the time. When we are awake, when we sleep. When we exercise and when we don't. Even thinking uses up fuel.
It is important to be sensible when it comes to fuel consumption and energy usage. Consider:
Everyday body use
The aim is to ensure that we maintain a necessary intake of energy from healthy food sources. If we eat too much, the body converts the excess into fat; intended for use when the food supply is low.
If don't eat enough, we may feel lethargic and our mental processes are adversely affected. The aim is to eat a small amount of healthy food at regular intervals - little and often.
What should you eat?
The subject of dieting is a complex, controversial and changeable one. Our advice is to find out for yourself what works for you. 'One size fits all' is hardly going to work since everyone is different.
2. Everyday body use
A lot of people are lazy. They are quite content to sit around all day and do as little activity as they can. In principle this may appear to be 'energy efficient' but in practice it is not.
Sitting for a prolonged duration is bad for the body and still burns fuel. It also encourages poor skeletal alignment which puts pressure on the body and this in turn uses more energy.
Bad body use harms the body and wastes fuel. Stress is placed on the knees, back, shoulders and neck through 'normal' sloppy habits and laziness.
Poor poise, imbalanced muscle use, being overweight and hunching over mobile phones (steering wheels, computers, watching TV or eating food) all lead to significant strain and eventual damage.
Many people go for an exercise 'blast' once a week and then suffer afterwards. People go from sitting stationary for long hours each day to suddenly undertaking rigorous, demanding exercise.
They are unfit, not supple, not flexible and the muscles have become weak. There is little or no bodily awareness.
Exertive exercise demands a massive amount of fuel. The body is placed under considerable duress for a sustained period and this is harmful to the system.
Instead of moderate, sensible exercise - performed with mindfulness - people often acquire habits that are not energy efficient and can lead to injury (and other health problems).
We are encouraged to lead active busy lives and this is not necessarily good for your health. It is essential that we take time to rest.
Rushing around puts both body and mind in a state of anxiety. Stress occurs when the demands you place upon yourself become too great.
Watching TV, the internet or playing with your phone is not actually relaxing for the mind.
Worrying, watching the news, gossip, fashions, negative emotions, competitiveness, media, or speculating about politics - all put the mind under duress.
They create frustration, anxiety and a feeling of helplessness. They force the brain to work ceaselessly.
This is not healthy.
The antidote to mental over-stimulation is meditation; bring your mind to a stop. Root your consciousness in the immediate. Try switching off all electronic devices. How quiet is it now?
Instead of flooding your mind with stimulation, lie quietly, read calming books or meditate. Reclaim your mind.
Being angry, aggressive, resentful, frustrated, stressed out, upset, worrying or simply over-analysing a situation all involves emotion. This costs energy.
A calm, clear logical mind is cost effective when it comes to fuel. By contrast; a wound-up, passive aggressive person requires a lot of fuel to sustain that level of emotional agitation.
Maintaining a tense muscle costs energy. Being wound-up tires you out. Over-stimulation means no actual rest. The body is required to sustain activity indefinitely.
This is burning energy non-stop.
Think of muscle tension, stress or mental agitation as being akin to switching on every electrical appliance. Now look at the electric meter.
Fuel is being consumed in very large quantities, but for what reason?
Switch things off
If you switched off every electrical appliance you are not currently using, how much power (fuel) will you save? A lot. An incredible amount.
The aim in taijiquan is to use the least amount of energy at all times.
Our energy is more precious
than all the gold in the world. It is a more powerful anti-aging tool than
Energy regenerates our liver and other tissue cells, flushes toxic waste from the body, helps maintain our ideal weight, keeps our skin smooth and our hair healthy.
The more energy we have, the better we feel and the more beautiful we become.
12 January 1995
Last updated 29 April 2021