The human body conducts many thousands of chemical and cellular processes every day, and all with little to no need for conscious awareness on our parts. Just thinking of how many processes the body is involved in daily, to keep us alive, healthy, and thriving, can be overwhelming!
One of these chemical processes is a familiar one, especially when we are thinking about ways in which our bodies may have changed as we have aged. This process is called metabolism. Our metabolism is often front and center stage when talking about issues related to our overall health, nutrition, weight, and disease processes, but what exactly is it?
How Does Our Metabolism Work?
Our bodies metabolism is the chemical and metabolic process which takes place as food and water are converted to energy. Metabolism is a complex process that takes the calories of our food and water and mixes them with oxygen in order to create and release this energy for the body’s use. The energy that is created is then used to fuel the many processes our body completes to keep us alive and well. This means at a cellular level you are what you eat! This can be a good or bad thing depending on our diets.
Without our metabolism we couldn’t digest food or move our muscles, so next time you go to a yoga class or enjoy a green smoothie, thank your metabolism! No matter what we are doing our bodies are always creating and using energy. This means that our metabolism never stops. The process of metabolism is broken down into two main reactions which are catabolism and anabolism.
Catabolism happens when energy is broken down to heat, energize, and move the body. Anabolism is exactly the opposite and takes place when energy is stored to support the growth of new cells and maintain the body’s tissues that are already present. Both are essential parts of an integral whole which makes up our metabolism.
Our metabolism helps us to:
- Digest our food
- Create new cells
- Repair our muscles after we work out
- Balance out hormone levels
- Regulating body temperature
- Helping blood flow and our cells receive oxygen
How Does Our Metabolism Affect Our Weight?
You might be surprised to learn that your metabolism is not solely responsible for your weight management. It can be easy to try and blame unexpected weight on a slow metabolism or being too thin on a fast metabolism, but weight is determined by several things such as sleep, diet, hormonal balance, calorie intake, and calorie expenditure.
A decrease in activity will create a lower energy need within the body thus creating a slower metabolism. When we have a sedentary lifestyle that is combined with the consumption of empty calorie foods high in fats and seed oils (for example) then we will inevitably gain weight. Some people who have high metabolisms will burn calories even while at rest, but this does not always lead to thinness. In fact, it has been shown that people who are overweight and even obese have high metabolic rates because their bodies require more energetic consumption to keep natural processes going.
Some people even have imbalances within their endocrine systems which cause a disruption to the metabolism such as:
- Cushing’s Disease
- Metabolic Syndrome
How Can You Have a Healthy Metabolism?
Everybody has a unique body chemistry which plays a large role in their metabolism and its rate. Factors such as age, sex genetics, muscle mass, activity levels, diet, sleep habits, hormonal balance, smoking status, and any presence of disease process also play important roles as well.
To have a healthy metabolism here are a few key steps to follow:
- Do not skip out on healthy foods. Our bodies need LOTS of fuel in the form of quality food to keep running at their optimum level. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables that are raw, steamed, and as fresh and local as possible. When it comes to veggies- substitute, the unhealthy store-bought dips for some homemade hummus dip.
- Do not skip out on meals. Starving your body of healthy fuel will only cause it to slow down and store calories as fat.
- Balance your workouts and if you’re a woman don’t focus too much on fasted cardio (this can really harm our hormonal systems balance and affect our metabolism). Make sure to include a balance of strength training, cardio, and activities such as yoga and pilates for extra core and balance work. Don’t overdo it in any one area- balance is key!
- Find proactive, easy ways to manage your stress levels with things such as deep breathing or meditation.
Incorporating all of these factors as part of a healthy lifestyle can help us to keep our metabolism balanced and functioning at its optimal level for many years to come.
At Orthobiologics Associates we have highly educated medical staff that can help balance your metabolic and hormonal health to achieve your health goals. Call to schedule a consultation with us – 877-381-4200.