December began with an article that related a healthy lifestyle to the first law of thermodynamics. The first law says that the quantity of energy contained within a system must be conserved – never created or destroyed. In relation to dieting, the lesson we may draw from this is that the amount of energy that we consume should be kept in check with respect to the amount of energy we output. Short of bariatric surgery, we must output more than we input for our body to lose weight.
Let us now take a closer look at the first law of thermodynamics. The conservation of energy principle has more to teach us than merely how to balance energy. The law also establishes the concept of mechanical work. Before getting into the physical definition of work, let us examine the traditional kind of work that we are all familiar with, like jobs and chores.
Have you ever heard a tough and hardened individual say, “You could learn a lot from a hard day’s work?” We get more out of life when we put more into it. As we will see, the benefits of working hard are actually predicted by the first law of thermodynamics.