Aren’t we all jealous of that one friend who can eat anything and everything they want and still not gain even a pound or that friend who has an infinite amount of energy during any time of the day? They are the ones blessed with a great metabolism. Metabolism, as we all know, is the capacity of the body to break down the components of the food we eat and convert it into energy without allowing it to settle down as body fats.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a set of chemical reactions in our body that helps us in growth, development, reacting to our environment and keeping our bodies alive. Metabolism mainly occurs during the digestion process. Thus, having a good digestion process directly or indirectly affects our metabolism.
An individual’s metabolism mainly depends on the following factors:-
• Body mass and built
At night when our body is at rest, it still requires some energy to perform the necessary bodily functions such as breathing, pumping blood, growing, etc. Energy level or metabolism is determined by the amount of caloric intake of the body and the number of calories that the body requires to perform these functions.
Metabolism and Genes
Metabolism is also affected by the genes that a person carries. Some people are genetically programmed with a high metabolism whereas others not so much.
If you have a genetically high metabolism, you would tend to have high energy throughout the day, insatiable hunger, etc. There is not much one can do about genetically slow or fast metabolism, it is just how our bodies are programmed to function.
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How is metabolism affected by our lifestyle?
Our lifestyle has a huge impact on our bodily functions. What we eat, how we spend our day impacts our system greatly thus affecting our metabolism. Depending on lifestyles the metabolism can be either fast or slow. A fast metabolism converts body fat into energy at a faster rate whereas with a slow metabolism our body doesn’t convert the food items into energy at a rapid rate and it settles down as fats thus making a person put on weight.
There are certain things activities of our day to day lives that might affect our metabolism rate. We might not even notice but our metabolism rate might fall drastically.
Here are the 5 unexpected habits which slow down our metabolism:-
UNHEALTHY SLEEP SCHEDULE
A good night’s sleep is the secret to good health. Apart from other activities sleep is also an integral part of our daily lives. Our body needs good sleep to repair the damages caused to our body throughout the day and to restore the energy lost. Without a night of proper sleep we may find ourselves fatigued, lack of focus and concentration and sleepy throughout the day. Good sleep is important for our body to maintain a steady metabolism rate. With long waking hours, the energy consumption rate of our bodies becomes disrupted and causes serious medical issues like diabetes, obesity, depression, etc.
Our bodies have a natural sleep cycle which is likely to be disturbed when we work for long hours at night or stay awake till late. This can lead to a fatigued and a sluggish rate of metabolism making us feel miserable the next morning. Late-night flights, night shifts, jet lags could be some reasons that would interrupt our internal clock, making the whole body suffer. Without enough sleep, a person tends to use lesser calories throughout the day, which means low-calorie burn rate and therefore leading to diseases like obesity. With no proper sleep, our body faces difficulties in processing the carbs, which lead to a rise in sugar levels of the blood triggering the insulin which stores the unconsumed energy as fats. High blood sugar chances increase with a lack of sleep and bad metabolism. Not only late nights but an overall bad sleep schedule like sleeping in the daytime can lead to a slow metabolism.
It is hard for a tired body to generate energy or fight diseases. To help your metabolic rate you should have a good night’s sleep of at least 7 to 9 hours for adults every day. To reset the internal body clock it is important to take an adequate amount of rest and avoid late nights, however, if fail to do so, consult a physician. Aromatherapy or sound therapy has proven to be a great natural solution for a disturbed sleep cycle and helps a person get a sound sleep. There are some sleep apps also available for the same; some say herbal tea is also very effective. We should try maintaining a consistent sleep cycle i.e. waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day, this will help to adjust a disturbed sleep schedule. A high quality sleep at night is 10 times more effective than daytime sleeping; it helps to increase the metabolic rate of the body, keeping us strong and productive throughout the day.
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We are what we eat, therefore, a proper diet and intake of proper nutrition are important for good health. What we eat affects directly our metabolism rate. Eating too much or too little can both have ill effects on the body’s metabolism. We tend to follow several fancy diets to lose weight which generally includes fewer calories, this sure does shred few pounds but we forget how important these calories are. Our body uses those calories to help you get to lose weight while you’re working out in the gym. A drastic fall or gain in weight can be harmful and unhealthy to the body.
Certain food items in our diet can slow down the metabolism rate, they are:-
- Salts that lack iodine in them such as sea salts which are in huge trend nowadays can have an effect of slowing down the metabolism. It creates an imbalance of sodium and iodine levels in our body.
- Too much decaf can also cause slow metabolism since the caffeine in the coffee or other beverages gives a kick start to our body. A limited amount of caffeine is good to keep our metabolism rate up.
- Calcium is an important nutrient for our bodies. We not only need it for bones but also other bodily functions as well. Having calcium-rich food keep our bones healthy and muscles functioning thus not letting the metabolism to slow down.
- Protein acts as the building block of nutrients for our bodies. It helps us gaining and maintaining proper body weight. Protein helps the body to burn calories at a faster rate hence creating a higher metabolism. Protein tends to boost our metabolism more than carbs or fats and helps to maintain the metabolism rate during weight loss.
- Eating too much of unhealthy carbohydrates and processed food can lead to a slower metabolism. It increases the calorie intake thus making it difficult for our body to process all the calories and then the unused energy is stored into our body as fats thus slowing down the metabolism. Artificial sweeteners also cause low metabolism by increasing the insulin level.
- Alcohol and certain drugs and medication also trigger bad metabolism.
- Irregular and infrequent meal times can also slow down the metabolism in our body.
To restore the balance of metabolism, we should keep our weight loss goals realistic and not follow harsh diets. Intake of a good amount of sodium, iodine, protein, calcium is also very important for good health and metabolism. Intake of adequate amount of caffeine, eating well-balanced diet food in a timely fashion, having calcium-rich food like milk and milk products, vegetables, fruits, potatoes, wheat flour, etc will help give the metabolism a boost. In case of unusual fatigue or slow down in metabolism do consult a physician for prescription drugs.
Dehydration can be a major issue for slow metabolism. Water is very essential to keep our bodily fluids flowing throughout the body and wash out the waste products. Drinking enough water keeps the digestion process in balance and helps boost metabolism.
Not only just water but infused water is also important for our body to provide us certain electrolytes.
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During the time of stress, our bodies release a certain hormone which gives us a sudden energy boost to combat the situation. With continuous stressful situations, our body keeps on releasing the hormones to help us fight against it that it drains our body out of energy very quickly. Thus too much stress can be harmful to our hormone levels as well as body metabolism. It makes us feel fatigued and tired very frequently and weakens the body’s capability to combat stress.
LACK OF EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL MOVEMENT
Lack of exercise and body movements can cause slow metabolism as it does not lets the body to consume any energy so produced and stores it as body fats. With a lack of movement or exercise, our body goes into an energy-saving mode and slows down the metabolism. Not only exercising in the gym but daily work like taking stairs, standing up, daily chores also counts as exercise for the body. It is said that these daily routine work helps to contribute towards weight loss as well.
Strength and resistance training helps in increasing the body metabolism by burning fat quickly; however, too much cardio exercises can lead to a slowdown in metabolism rate as the body runs out of all the energy present. A good rest after exercising is necessary to help our body replenish the lost energy.
Our lifestyle has a huge impact on our health. Our daily chores and routine affect our bodies directly. Thus, making small changes in our unhealthy lifestyle can prevent us from a lot of long terms of medical issues and also help us lead a healthier life than before.