February 1, 2013 || 10:07 am || 1 Comment
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is a serious of chemical reactions in the body that convert food to fuel. It is a complex process involving enzymes, hormones, and biochemical processes that helps support day to day bodily functions. From blood flow to breathing to cell growth and repair, your metabolism is responsible for maintaining the most basic and important of your body’s functions. When most people think of metabolism we tend to only focus on the rate at which this occurs; not the actual release of energy. After all, the faster you burn through those calories, the easier it is to maintain a healthy weight.
So what actually affects your metabolic rate?
Since the metabolic process is a complex one, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of factors that can affect it. The first being age. Our metabolic rates decreases about 5% per decade once we reach 40. Sex is also a factor. Men tend to have a high metabolic rate than women. This is mainly because men naturally tend to have more muscle than women. And surprisingly, your weight also affects your metabolic rate. And not in the way you might think. The heavier you are, the faster you burn calories. That’s right! FASTER! The extra weight you are carrying causes your body to work harder to support daily functions, thus revving up your metabolism. So overweight people will actually burn calories faster than thinner people. This is extremely important to remember when it comes to weight loss. Once you lose weight, your metabolism actually slows to match your new, slimmer frame. This is one reason why it’s so easy to regain weight if you slip back into old, less healthy habits.
Now what can you really do to boost yours?
It is true we can’t change some factors – unfortunately we all age! However there are some proven ways to boost your metabolism. And the good news is that they are things that we should already be doing to support a healthy lifestyle! Here they are:
Exercise – Exercise is not only important for burning extra calories, but it can also help rev your metabolism. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, the more muscle you have, the faster you burn calories. Even at rest. That’s why strength training is equally as important as cardio when it comes to exercise. Want to boost your metabolism? Hit the gym!
Don’t Skip Meals –Your metabolism is much smarter than you might think. When you put too many hours between meals, your metabolism will actually slow down to compensate. It will hang on to those calories for dear life, unsure of when its next meal may be. Eating consistent meals let’s your body know that food is always coming, thus keeping your metabolism elevated. That’s one explanation as to why people who skip meals tend to weight more.
Drink Water – Many people forget that water is an essential nutrient. And a vital part of the metabolic process. Maintaining proper hydration will not only help stop food cravings (dehydration is often confused with hunger) but it can even help boost the rate at which we burn calories. So drink water. And if you exercise drink even more water.
So truth be told, weight gain is most commonly a result of exercising too little and eating too much. Not a slow metabolism. By focusing on healthful ways to rev yours, you can ditch the excuse and reach your goals once and for all.