Metabolism – or metabolic rate is defined as the series of chemical reactions in a living organism that create and break down energy necessary for life. More simply, it’s the rate at which your body expends energy or burns calories.
Why is it important to boost your metabolism? Well, to simply put it, the higher your metabolic rate is, the more calories you burn! Resulting of course to losing the extra weight or shedding more unwanted pounds overtime. High metabolism means it is easier to lose weight. While on the other hand low metabolism leads to weight gain sometimes even if you are eating less.
One way to think about metabolism is to think of your body as a car engine that is always running. When you are just sitting, not doing anything or sleeping, your engine is idling like a car at a stop light. A certain amount of energy is being burned just to keep the engine running. For humans of course the fuel source is not gasoline. It’s the calories found in foods we eat and the beverages we drink the entire day that is converted to energy that may be used right away or stored (especially in the form of fat) for use later. Now, how fast your body’s “engine” runs on average, over time, determines how many calories you body burn. If your metabolism is “high” (or fast), you will burn more calories at rest and during activity. On the other hand if you have a “low” (or slow) metabolism, you will burn fewer calories at rest and during activity and therefore have to eat less to avoid becoming overweight.
What Affects Your Metabolism?
Now that we know what metabolism is, let’s educate ourselves what affects it.
- Genetics – Metabolism is partly genetic. Some people are just lucky. They inherited genes that promote a faster metabolism and can eat more than others without gaining weight. Others are not so lucky and end up with a slow metabolism. Genes definitely play a role in muscle size and your ability to grow muscles, both of which affect your metabolism.
- Age – As you get older, your muscle mass decreases, which slows down the rate at which you burn calories. You start to lose 5-6 pounds of muscles every decade. This starts in your late 20s. That is why if you choose to just stay in the corner and continue with your inactive lifestyle, chances are you will start to see the weight piling on as you age.
- Muscle Mass – this is the amount of muscle tissue in your body. If you have more muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories, even at rest. As lean muscle mass increases, metabolic rate increases. (Resistance or strength training is most effective for building and maintaining mass.)
- Diet – The food you feed your body with plays a huge role as well in the increase or decrease of your metabolic rate (metabolism). It’s claimed that certain food and drinks can boost your metabolism, including green tea, black coffee, spices and energy drinks.
- Exercise – this is a very obvious factor that affects our metabolism. Exercise increases muscle mass and powers up your metabolic engines burning kilojoules at a faster rate, even when at rest. Do exercises that develop muscles as higher muscle mass means burning more calories. Aim to do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on 2 or more days a week.
- Lifestyle – daily habits and lifestyle changes plays an important role in your metabolism. Commit to a lifestyle change that will boost your metabolic rate. These includes, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep because not getting enough sleep (or quality sleep) triggers hormonal changes that affect metabolism and appetite for up to 24 hours. ). and then eating right and staying fueled throughout the day. If you don’t eat enough, metabolism decreases initially as body functions slow to conserve energy. If lack of food continues, muscle is also broken down for energy—meaning metabolism takes a short- and long-term hit.
With the right metabolism, you will not only be able to achieve a healthy weight but also be on your journey to a healthier life. Hope that helps!