Do you blame that recent weight gain on the fact that you’re a year older? Not so fast! You hear that with age comes a decrease in your metabolism. If you become more sedentary as you get older, this statement is true; however, unfortunately, that doesn’t tell the whole story. To first understand what factors influence metabolism, you must first know what metabolism is.
Metabolism is the total chemical reactions that occur within a living organism, like the human body, that keeps it alive by providing energy. Our body’s metabolism is running all the time, whether we are exercising, sleeping, or eating. It helps to create new cells and tissues, maintain temperature, repair injuries, and perform bodily activities.
There are three components that make up our metabolic profile:
1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – the minimum amount of energy needed to keep us alive
2. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) – the energy required to perform life’s daily functions (sleeping, working, exercising, etc.)
3. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) – the energy required to breakdown and transport the food that we consume
BMR + RMR + TEF = Total Calories Expended (Energy)
It is the amount of lean body mass (LBM) we have, not our actual age, that influences our metabolism. The more LBM, the higher our metabolism. So, if you assumed your body has an internal clock that triggers your metabolism to work slower after the last candle is blown out on your birthday, well you thought wrong. Other factors include:
• Sex – males tend to naturally have higher levels of LBM than females
• Height – people who are taller have a greater surface area for their bodies to fuel. As a result taller people tend to have a more active metabolism and require more calories to stay energized
• Family History – some families genetic makeup tend to have naturally higher metabolism levels than others, while others are naturally low
• Eating Habits – the more often and healthy you eat, the more active your metabolism will be
From a fitness standpoint, exercise influences our metabolism through cardiovascular and strength training. We burn calories while we work out. Our metabolism speeds up in order to keep up with our energy expenditure and it remains elevated for several hours after exercising. Metabolic rate is influenced by the duration and method of cardio, as well as by how high our heart rate gets. Strength training results in an increase in our LBM, which leads to a higher metabolism too. The amount of weight lifted and the exercises selected for your workout are key components to maximizing metabolic rate. Learn how Sea Change Fitness & Nutrition’s scientific approach can help you increase your metabolism today!