It might surprise you to learn that researchers still don’t understand exactly why metabolism varies so much from person to person. You’ve more than likely noticed some people’s relationship between calorie burning and calorie intake differing from your own. But why?
Metabolism influences many aspects of your physical health, from weight to determining the amount of exercise you need. However, the process is not quite as simple as “having a high/low metabolism.”
Read on for a brief guide that helps to break down this complex process in clearer terms.
What Is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the process by which your body turns the food and drink you consume into the energy it needs.
This process is divided into two central parts: catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism happens during digestion when food molecules are broken down for the body to use as energy. Anabolism organizes and synthesizes those molecules into more complex ones for your organs to use.
Metabolism is always occurring within your body, even when you’re at rest or sleeping. After all, your body requires energy to perform essential functions like breathing, digesting, and circulation. The amount of calories required to perform such baseline activities is what’s referred to as one’s basal metabolic rate.
Factors That Can Affect Your Metabolism
There are several passive, natural factors at play when it comes to what helps determine one’s rate of metabolism.
For one, a person’s stature and body composition are crucial determinants of how they process energy. A larger, taller, or more muscular person requires more calories simply to keep their systems running at the same rate as the average person.
One’s sex can affect one’s metabolism as well. This is largely for the same reason, as people assigned male at birth tend to be larger and more muscular than those assigned female at birth.
In addition, like it or not, our metabolism naturally decreases with age. As we get older, fat accounts for more of our weight, which requires fewer calories for our bodies to maintain.
Nonetheless, diet and exercise play the most pivotal roles in our metabolic process. If you exercise frequently or live a very active lifestyle, your body will need more calories to burn. On the other hand, if you aren’t as mobile in your day-to-day life, your body will only burn less energy from the calories you consume.
In the end, the give-and-take relationship between calories consumed and calories burned is all about finding your balance. Learn more about it here.
Learning More Helps You Stay Healthy
Although metabolism helps a great deal in determining one’s diet or exercise regimen, it is far from the only deciding factor. Also, contrary to what you may see elsewhere, there are no simple or easy fixes for a metabolism that is too low or too high.
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