Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biochemical process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.
Even when you're at rest, your body needs energy for all its "hidden" functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells. The number of calories your body uses to carry out these essential functions is known as your basal metabolic rate what you might call metabolism.
Several factors determine your basal metabolism, including:
Scientists call the activity you do all day that isn't deliberate exercise nonexercised activity thermo genesis (NEAT). This activity includes walking from room to room, events such as gardening and even fidgeting. NEAT accounts for about 100 to 800 calories used daily.
Metabolism and weight
It may be tempting to blame your metabolism for weight gain. But because metabolism is a natural process, your body has many mechanisms that regulate it to meet your individual needs. Only in rare cases do you get excessive weight gain from a medical problem that slows metabolism, such as Cushing's syndrome or having an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
Unfortunately, weight gain is a complicated process. It's likely a combination of genetic makeup, hormonal controls, diet composition and the impact of the environment on your lifestyle, including sleep, physical activity and stress.
All of these factors result in an imbalance in the energy equation. You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn or burn fewer calories than you consume.
While it is true that some people seem to be able to lose weight more quickly and more efficiently than others, everyone loses weight when they burn up more calories than they eat. To lose weight, you need to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories or increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity or both.
Men have higher metabolisms than women; younger people tend to have higher metabolisms than older people, and more substantial or more muscular people have higher metabolisms than those who are smaller. While some supplements may claim to increase your metabolism, these claims are often false, and these supplements can have adverse effects.
Aerobic exercise doesn't seem to cause permanent changes in your resting metabolic rate but does appear to create a temporary increase in calorie expenditure that can last up to 48 hours after you finish your workout, known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This effect may be enough to increase your weight loss results. Study participants burned an extra 190 calories in the 14 hours after completing a 45-minute vigorous cycling workout.
You can burn more calories with:
If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to increase the time you spend on physical activity even more. If you can't set aside time for a longer workout, try 10-minute chunks of business throughout the day. Remember, the more active you are, the higher the benefits.
Taking the stairs more often and parking farther away at the store are simple ways to burn more calories. Even activities such as gardening, washing your car and housework burn calories and contribute to weight loss.
When it comes to weight, metabolism is essential and does have a genetic component. Whether you can change your metabolic rate, however, is a matter of considerable debate. You can change how you balance the calories you take in against the calories you burn up through activity, which can improve your weight.