You’ve probably heard people blame their weight on a slow metabolism, but what does that mean? Is metabolism really the culprit? And if so, is it possible to rev up your metabolism to burn more calories?
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is a combination of biochemical processes that your body uses to convert food into energy. These metabolic processes include breathing, eating and digesting food, the delivery of nutrients to your cells through the blood, the use of energy by your muscles, nerves and cells, and finally the elimination of waste products from your body.
Your metabolic rate might change from day to day depending on your activity level, but your basal metabolic rate stays fairly steady.
What is Basal Metabolic Rate?
Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories needed to fuel your body’s essential functions, like breathing and circulating blood. Basal metabolic rate is the most significant component of your total metabolic rate.
Basal Metabolic Rate can be calculated using the Harris-Benedict Equation:
Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)
Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)
What are the factors that affect metabolism?
There are several reasons why some people have fast metabolism while others have slow metabolism. Some of them are;
1) Age: Metabolism slows as we age.
2) Gender: Men generally have a higher metabolism than women because of their higher muscle mass.
3) Body size and composition: The bodies of people who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.
4) Body temperature: Metabolism increases when the body is exposed to hot or cold temperatures.
5) Caffeine or stimulant intake: Drinks containing caffeine like coffee or tea increase the body’s metabolism.
6) Hormones: Some hormones like thyroid hormone increase the body’s metabolism. People with low thyroid level often have slow metabolism.
7) Pregnancy: Increases the body’s metabolism.
8) Food intake: If you don’t eat enough food, your metabolism slows.
9) Activity level: When you move more during the day, either through exercise or routine daily movements (like walking or standing) your body burns more calories.
How can you increase your metabolism and burn more fat?
1) Exercise: You burn more calories when you exercise. Even an easy workout increases your metabolism. Harder workouts, however, burn more calories.
2) Daily movement: Simple daily tasks like walking, climbing stairs, gardening and housework require your body to work harder and boost your metabolism.
3) Build muscle: You can improve your body composition to burn more calories. Do strength training exercises to build muscle and burn more calories even when your body is resting.
4) Eat the right number of calories. Eating too many calories can cause weight gain. But eating too few calories can cause your metabolism to slow down. Make sure you’re eating enough calories to maintain a healthy metabolism.
Metabolism varies from day to day, but healthy eating, regular work-out, increased activity helps to maintain a healthy weight.