Can You Test Your Energy?

Can you test your energy?

Energy is a broad concept that can be defined in many contexts. In human biology, energy often refers to the capacity to do work and engage in physical or mental activity. On a cellular level, energy production through metabolism powers essential biological processes. In psychology, energy relates to having the psychological resources and motivation to actively participate in life.

Energy in a biological sense involves metabolic processes that convert food and oxygen into usable cellular energy, often measured in units like calories or joules. This biochemical energy drives all physiological processes and bodily functions. Having sufficient energy resources allows the body to maintain homeostasis and good health.

On a psychological level, energy refers to having the mental vigor, focus, motivation and positive mood to fully engage with the demands of life. Mental energy allows you to think clearly, concentrate, manage emotions, and persist through challenges. High psychological energy is linked to feeling purposeful, empowered and optimistic. Low mental energy manifests as fatigue, distraction, cynicism or apathy.

So in summary, energy in human systems involves both the biochemical capacity to fuel physical activity as well as the cognitive resources to engage actively and positively with the world. Assessing energy requires looking at both biological and psychological factors.

(Gamper, 2021; Wikipedia, 2023)

Assessing Physical Energy

When it comes to physical energy, there are a few key metrics you can track to get a sense of your overall vitality. Two of the most important are stamina and strength.

Stamina refers to your ability to sustain prolonged physical activity without getting too fatigued. There are simple ways to test this, like going for a run or doing circuit training and seeing how long you can keep up an elevated heart rate. Monitoring the length of your workouts and your perceived exertion levels can give you a sense of your endurance.

Testing strength is also easy with basic exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks. Track how many reps you can do or how long you can hold a plank to benchmark your strength over time. Improving these numbers indicates an increase in overall vitality.

Your resting heart rate can also give you insight into your physical energy levels. Measure your pulse first thing in the morning before getting out of bed. Consistently elevated heart rates may be a sign of overtraining or fatigue.

Lastly, notice how you generally feel physically throughout the day. Pay attention to your energy swings, sluggishness, or sense of vibrancy. Keeping in tune with your body provides important clues to your physical vitality.

Assessing Mental Energy

Mental energy relates to one’s focus, concentration, and motivation levels. There are various methods for measuring mental energy, including questionnaires, cognitive tests, and brain imaging techniques.

Self-report questionnaires like the Profile of Mood States (POMS) contain subscales that assess energy and fatigue levels (O’Connor, 2006). Higher scores on energy and lower scores on fatigue indicate greater mental energy.

Cognitive tests of processing speed, memory, attention, and concentration can also gauge mental energy. Faster reaction times and higher accuracy suggest greater focus and mental energy (Lieberman, 2007).

Brain imaging techniques like EEG and fMRI allow researchers to directly measure brain activity patterns related to mental energy. Increased prefrontal cortex activation is associated with higher motivation and focus (Lu et al., 2018).

Overall, questionnaires, cognitive tests, and neuroimaging provide quantitative metrics to assess an individual’s mental energy levels.

Lifestyle Factors

Your daily habits and routines can have a major impact on your energy levels. Getting enough high-quality sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress effectively are all key lifestyle factors that affect energy.

Not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night can lead to fatigue and low energy the next day. Having good sleep hygiene habits like avoiding screens before bedtime, sleeping in a cool, dark room, and going to bed and waking up at consistent times can optimize sleep quality and duration for improved daytime energy.

Eating a diet full of nutrient-dense whole foods provides the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and macronutrients needed to properly fuel your body and mind. Getting adequate protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats while limiting processed foods and added sugars is ideal for sustaining energy. Staying hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day also prevents fatigue.

Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week has been shown to increase energy levels. Cardio, strength training, yoga, and other physical activity gets your blood pumping for more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered throughout your body. Moving your body regularly reduces fatigue.

Chronic stress takes a toll on your energy reserves. Making time for relaxation through meditation, deep breathing, massage, or other stress management techniques can help calm your mind and body to boost your energy. Setting boundaries and saying no when needed also prevents burnout.

Optimizing these key lifestyle factors of sleep, diet, exercise and stress management is essential for maintaining high energy levels day after day.

Stress and Energy

Stress can have a major impact on energy levels. When you are stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode, releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This ramps up your energy in the short-term, but over time chronic stress leads to fatigue and burnout.

Studies show that prolonged stress causes your energy levels to plummet. Stress hormones break down your muscle tissue, including the heart muscle, which reduces your cardiovascular capacity and overall energy. Stress also leads to elevated inflammation and increased oxidative stress, which zaps vitality. Furthermore, stress disrupts sleep, which is critical for daily energy restoration.

Tips for managing stress to maintain optimal energy include regularly practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or tai chi. Getting regular physical activity can also help relieve stress. Establishing healthy daily routines with sufficient rest and recovery periods helps prevent burnout. It’s important to set boundaries and not take on too many responsibilities that can deplete your reserves. Seeking social support and having confidants to discuss stresses can provide relief as well. If you’re struggling to cope with stress, consider speaking to a counselor or therapist.


Medical Factors

There are many medical conditions that can cause fatigue and low energy levels. Some common medical causes include:

Anemia – Having low levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin can result in fatigue, weakness, pale skin, and more

Thyroid disorders – Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can lead to exhaustion. Hypothyroidism causes fatigue from a slowed metabolism while hyperthyroidism overstimulates the body.

Diabetes – Uncontrolled blood sugar levels from diabetes can sap energy and leave people feeling worn out and lethargic.

Chronic fatigue syndrome – This complex disorder causes extreme fatigue that lasts over 6 months and doesn’t improve with rest. The exact cause is unknown.

Sleep apnea – Frequent pauses in breathing during sleep lead to non-restorative sleep and next-day tiredness.

Chronic pain – Conditions like fibromyalgia that cause widespread muscle pain can greatly diminish energy.

Heart disease – Poor blood circulation from heart problems reduces oxygen delivery and causes fatigue.

Inflammatory diseases – Autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis release inflammatory chemicals that induce fatigue.

Supplements and Energy

Natural supplements can provide an effective and safe way to boost your energy levels. Some of the most popular options include:

Rhodiola rosea. This adaptogenic herb may help the body manage stress and fight fatigue. Studies show Rhodiola can improve energy levels and reduce burnout (

Vitamin B complex. B vitamins like B12 and B6 play an important role in energy production and brain function. Supplementing with a high-quality B complex may increase energy, improve mood, and reduce tiredness (

CoQ10. This antioxidant supports energy production in cells. Research indicates CoQ10 may boost energy, exercise performance, and heart health in those deficient in the nutrient (

Iron. Iron carries oxygen to all the cells in your body. Too little iron can lead to fatigue and low energy. Those with iron deficiency may see a boost in energy from iron supplements.

Magnesium. Magnesium activates enzymes needed to produce ATP, the main source of energy in cells. Studies link low magnesium levels to fatigue. Magnesium supplements may help increase energy and reduce tiredness.

Other beneficial supplements for energy include ginger, ginseng, L-carnitine, omega-3s, vitamin D, and B vitamins like thiamin and niacin. When choosing a supplement, look for high-quality brands and consult your doctor, especially if you take medications or have health conditions.

When to See a Doctor

While occasional fatigue is normal, persistent exhaustion or a dramatic change in energy levels can be a sign of an underlying health condition. It’s important to see your doctor if your fatigue persists for over two weeks or worsens over time. Some key signs that your low energy warrants medical evaluation include:

– Difficulty completing normal daily activities due to fatigue

– Feeling exhausted even after ample rest

– Severe muscle weakness

– Shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain or heart palpitations

– Fever, night sweats or unexplained weight loss

– Difficulty concentrating or memory problems

– Swollen lymph nodes or bruising easily

– Anxiety, depression or chronic sadness

Seeing your doctor can help identify any underlying causes like anemia, thyroid disorders, sleep apnea, heart disease, infections, autoimmune diseases, depression or stress. Blood tests, sleep studies and other diagnostic tools may be used. Addressing any underlying health issues is key to improving your energy.


Energy Improvement Tips

Making some lifestyle changes can help boost your energy levels naturally. Here are some tips:

  • Get enough sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours per night. Not getting adequate rest can lead to fatigue.Aim for a consistent sleep schedule and practice good sleep habits.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity increases energy by improving circulation, cardiovascular health, and endorphins. Aim for 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise like walking, swimming, or yoga.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbs. Stay hydrated and limit caffeine and sugar. Smaller, frequent meals can help stabilize energy.
  • Manage stress. High stress depletes energy. Try relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Make time for hobbies and self-care.
  • Get some sun. Sunlight exposure helps the body produce vitamin D, which can boost energy.Aim for 10-15 minutes per day.
  • Consider yoga. Yoga combines physical activity, breathing, and mindfulness. Studies show yoga can reduce fatigue and improve energy levels.[1]

Making lifestyle changes takes time, but being consistent with healthy habits can improve your energy in the long run.



In summary, there are various ways to assess your physical and mental energy levels to get an understanding of your overall energy. Factors like sleep, diet, exercise, stress levels, and medical issues can all impact energy. While supplements may provide a temporary boost, making lifestyle changes and addressing any underlying causes is key for improving energy long-term. If fatigue is ongoing, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any medical conditions. With some self-assessment, healthy habits, and potentially medical care, most people can improve their energy levels.

Some key takeaways:

  • Take note of your energy levels throughout the day to identify any dips.
  • Evaluate lifestyle factors like sleep, nutrition, activity levels, and stress.
  • Rule out any medications or medical issues that could be causing fatigue.
  • Make dietary changes to eat energizing whole foods and stay hydrated.
  • Establish an exercise routine that works for you.
  • Reduce and manage stress through relaxation techniques.
  • Optimize sleep quantity and quality.
  • Take supplements only as needed for an extra boost.

Assessing your energy allows you to pinpoint areas for improvement. With some lifestyle changes and self-care, you can work towards having more balanced, sustained energy throughout your day.

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