People often talk about metabolism as if it’s got a mind of its own. You might put on a few pounds, shrug your shoulders, and say, “I’ve got a slow metabolism” in a “what can you do?” kind of tone. While it’s true that your metabolic rate is influenced by some factors that are beyond your control, it’s important not to view your metabolism as something that’s out of your hands.
As with respiratory health, cardiovascular health, or any other type of health, your metabolic health is directly influenced by the decisions that you make.
The first thing that you need to know about metabolic health is what metabolism is. Merriam-Webster defines metabolism as, “the sum of the processes in the buildup and destruction of protoplasm; specifically : the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated.”
In other words, metabolism is the process by which your body converts the calories and nutrients from food and drink into energy. Your body uses this energy to carry out basic functions. These functions include everything from breathing to sending signals to repairing cells. The rate at which your body converts and uses this energy is know as your metabolic rate. Your body is always burning calories, even when you’re resting. The amount of energy your body uses while at rest is your resting metabolic rate.
Your metabolic rate is determined by a number of different factors.
- Your age affects your metabolism. Your metabolism typically slows down as you get older.
- Your sex affects your metabolism. Men generally have a higher metabolism than women.
- The size of your body affects your metabolism. The taller you are and the bigger your frame, the more energy your body needs to carry out its functions.
- Muscles require more energy than fat does. The more muscle you have the higher your metabolism.
- Your thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormone, which regulates your metabolism. It’s possible for this gland to produce too much or too little of the thyroid hormone which has a direct affect on your metabolism.
- Exercise and physical activity have a huge affect on your metabolism. The more active you are, the more energy your body needs, and the higher your metabolic rate.
There are a number of other factors that influence your metabolic rate including pregnancy, emotional strain, diet, perceived starvation, and the amount of sleep you get. Your metabolic health is important, but with so many factors it can be difficult to regulate. Your physician can help you work towards good metabolic health.
Request an appointment with your MANA physician today.