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Do We Have Less Energy as We Get Older — and If so, Why?

Unraveling the fascinating science behind the cliché



You may remember learning about the Law of Conservation of Energy in high school, nicely summed up by this quote from the 2009 film Avatar: “[A]ll energy is only borrowed.” Basically, if kids have more energy, they had to have got it from somewhere. Where? Let’s take a look at suspect #1: Food.

Science Confirms That Kids Are Gluttons

Every few years, scientists around the world like to drop into random people’s homes, inventory their fridges and pantries, and grill the residents on what they ate during the past 24 hours. This is called a Health and Nutrition Survey, and many countries conduct one. 

Another thing to watch out for is sitting too much, as those who spend a lot of time sitting tend to feel the most fatigued. While this can be a chicken-or-egg problem (are you tired because you’re sitting, or are you sitting because you’re tired?), one study found that a period of sitting predictably brings about a drop in mood and energy, resulting in a vicious cycle. 

So the next time a youngster zooms past you, take heart.

 While you may no longer have the energy to run endless laps around the house, with care and a bit of luck, you can have the energy for the activities that matter.


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