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Metabolism and Your Metabolic Rate


If you are one of the many people who have tried practically everything to lose weight, you will have come across the terms ‘metabolism’ and ‘metabolic rate’. Learning some of the science about metabolism and how it affects your weight loss efforts will help you understand not only the ‘why’ but also the ‘how’. So, what does it all mean?

Metabolism is the sum of all biochemical reactions that are taking place inside your body. These reactions are an integral part of staying alive. Metabolism sees to it that all your cells are functioning properly. Your body composition and its ability to consume calories and transform them into energy is a large part of metabolism. Metabolic rate is the speed at which these bodily functions occur, and this varies from one person to another. It is influenced both by predetermined factors and also by a person’s specific actions and behaviors.

Some Factors that Influence Your Metabolic Rate

Age - As a person ages, their metabolic rate declines. There are many contributing causes including reduced hormonal manufacture and muscle loss. Some causes are largely unavoidable but many are manageable and can be controlled by diet and exercise.

Genetics - Your genes also affect your metabolic rate. Some people can eat just about anything and as much as they want to without worrying about gaining weight; however, their metabolic rate may change as they age.

Gender - Men’s metabolic rate is approximately 10-25% higher than women due to the fact that they have more muscle mass compared to women.

Body Size - People with larger body build have higher metabolic rates. This is because their bodies have greater total mass overall. With regular exercise and diet, anyone is capable of changing their body composition.

Hormones - The thyroid hormones play a large role in regulating your metabolic rate. Other hormones that influence the speed of your metabolism include progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. Many women experience a decline in their metabolic rate after they reach menopause.

A huge trap many people fall to is continuing to eat the same quantity and type of food over the whole of their lifetime, regardless of changes in age and activity. If you are an active and hardworking young adult you can eat large meals that are readily metabolized as either energy or muscle.

However, as you grow older you are less active and have less physical work in your day, consuming the same quantities will result in your body laying down excess fat, as it stores what it doesn’t use. Adjust your food intake to suit your activity requirements!

How to Speed Up Your Metabolism

Staying active can greatly speed up your metabolism. When you exercise regularly, your need for energy will increase, thereby keeping your metabolism active. Maintaining an active lifestyle gets your body used to coping with the increased need for energy.

You should also stay away from crash dieting. Crash diets will definitely promise you to drop more pounds in just a short time but only at the expense of proper nutrition. If your crash diet allows you to eat less than 1,000 calories it will indeed help you lose weight.

Unfortunately it is not the weight you want to lose! It will almost certainly be muscle loss and less muscle means slower metabolism. In turn, once you stop your crash diet you will only find yourself gaining weight faster than your body did before you started your crash diet.

Start Building Muscle

Building a muscle may not be as easy as it sounds but it can definitely help you lose weight. This is because your muscles are made up of metabolically active tissues. Muscles require plenty of calories for maintenance and this means that the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will be able to burn. This is true even when you are resting.

So start exercising as you can never build and maintain muscles by sitting down!

Drink Water

Adequate water intake is essential to good health and especially to weight loss. Eight glasses a day is considered a reasonable amount for a person with average physical activity. If you are engaged in strenuous activity or work in high temperatures, you have to drink more than the required eight glasses a day.

If you are new to the world of “weight loss and dieting” discuss your objectives with your health care provider first. It is important to understand your own body’s requirements and limitations prior to making any attempts of your own in regards to a diet and exercise regimen.

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