Health and Fitness

Metabolism: What Are The Factors That Affect Metabolic Rate?

Have you ever wondered what happens to the food you eat? How do you get the fuel to run the numerous functions of your body? All this happens due to a particular function known as metabolism. In this article, we will discuss metabolism, its types, and what the factors that affect metabolic rate are. You can further learn about how to restart your metabolism in the coming articles.

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is a chemical procedure in our body that helps to maintain the normal functioning of our body. Metabolism breaks down our food into calories to furnish our body with the energy it requires to carry out all the routine tasks. It includes everything from walking to thinking.

The measurement of energy we obtain from our food through a metabolic process is in kilojoules (KJ). We often refer to calories as energy. However, kilojoules and calories are the same thing. Both of these relate to energy, and one calorie is equal to four kilojoules.

Achieving a balanced weight is only possible when you limit your diet and consume calories required by the body for metabolism. All the extra calories we consume result in fat in our bodies.

What are the types of metabolism?

The complex procedure of our body is metabolism, which is further divided into two parts that the body monitors to maintain its functions efficiently.

Catabolism: It is a process that involves the breakdown of food into nutrients to release energy for the body to perform its basic tasks.

Anabolism: It is necessary to build and repair our bodies. The body uses the fuel obtained as a result of catabolism to formulate bigger structures in anabolism, for instance, tissue around a wound. The energy that the anabolism does not utilize is fat and stored in the body.

What do you know about metabolic rate?

What is metabolism and what is metabolic rate? Both these questions go side by side.

In simple terms, metabolic rate refers to the rate at which a human body’s metabolism runs. However, it can be further, divided into three more components:

  • Basal metabolic rate (BMR): Basal Metabolic Rate. In other words, the ‘basic’ metabolic rate of your body is the amount of energy your body expends at rest. You might be wondering that the consumption of energy at rest is minimum; however, what happens is different. The largest amount of energy used is almost 50-80% by BMR to carry out the different functions of the body, including breathing, heart rate, hormonal levels, building, and cell repair, even thinking, etc. So, when the body is at ease, the metabolism is still operating.

The average BMR of a man is 7100 KJ a day, while a woman has 5900 kilojoules per day.

  • Physical activities: The amount of energy we expend fluctuates depending on our physical activities. These activities may vary each day. There are two types of physical activities; the scheduled ones include exercise, running, jogging, and walking. Doing household chores, hanging laundered clothes on the line, using stairs, or even an idle walk are among unexpected tasks that divert energy expenditure.
  • Thermic food effect: The thermic effect of food is the energy employed by our body to digest the food we ingest. It aids in transporting and storing its nutrients. The energy used is 5-10% for this process.

What are the factors that affect metabolic rate?

There are numerous factors that influence the metabolic rate in the human body. Some of them are controllable, like physical activities, while some of them, like age and gender, are uncontrollable factors that simulate metabolism.

  • Size: The size of your body and tissues impact the BMR of your body.
  • Lean muscle: The more lean muscle mass you possess, the more calories you burn increase, and the more effectively your metabolism operates.
  • Body Fat: Fat cells burn a few kilojoules. However, a person with more muscle or body mass is likely to burn more calories even at rest.
  • Crash dieting/fasting: If you are consuming very few calories, you are inclined to slow your metabolic rate to sustain energy.
  • Age: Metabolism becomes sluggish with age due to a decrease in activities and muscle mass. The aging of internal organs influences a slower metabolic rate as well.
  • Gender: Men, due to their bulky nature, are thought to have a greater metabolic rate than women at rest.
  • Growth: Growing age children tend to have a higher metabolic rate due to the flourishing demand for energy required for their adequate growth and to retain body temperature.
  • Genes: Genes affect your metabolic rate by deciding a few of your activities, like hunger, appetite, etc. that influence the metabolic rate as to how to use energy.
  • Hormones: Hormonal imbalances can influence the metabolic rate. It can either boost it or slow it. For instance, stress hormones might slow down the metabolism, while too much estrogen can lead to weight gain by putting the brakes on the metabolic rate.
  • Environmental temperature: The surrounding temperature determines the metabolic rate. Our bodies burn more calories to regulate the body temperature in a hot or cold climate, hence boosting the metabolic rate.
  • Physical Activity: Physical activities enhance the metabolic rate. Regular exercise helps to improve the metabolic rate even at rest, and it aids the body in burning calories rapidly.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine tends to stimulate metabolism in controlled and obese people. This is why caffeine is used by people struggling to lose weight.

How do I identify a slow metabolism?

A sluggish metabolism might be due to the nature of your body or due to your lack of physical activity. Many of the factors stated above affect metabolism.

An inactive metabolic rate is not only a hindrance to the weight loss journey, but it possesses many other signs that help you identify that something is wrong with your metabolism.

  • Fatigue: Due to slow metabolism, you will feel exhausted throughout the day, despite acquiring a good sleep at night.
  • Weight gain: Apart from higher-calorie consumption, a lower metabolic rate also causes weight gain.
  • Constipation: Your body takes more time to process food due to a slower metabolism that results in constipation.
  • Depression: If you feel depressed for no apparent reason, it’s all because of the slow metabolic rate.

These are a few symptoms that indicate a slow metabolic rate. To increase your metabolism, here are a few easy methods:

  • Consume enough protein
  • Say no to sugary drinks
  • Drink plenty of water
  • High-Intensity workout
  • Lift weights
  • Sit less, stand more
  • Drink green tea
  • Good sleep at night
  • Exercise regularly

Moreover, consult your doctor or nutritionist regarding a balanced diet that helps to boost metabolism.

This article explains what metabolism is, what factors influence the metabolic rate, indications of slow metabolism, and ways to boost it.

Lastly, metabolism is an important procedure in your body. For its proper functioning, you must incorporate a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet. Healthy metabolic activity provides you with energy and is beneficial for your physical as well as mental well-being.

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