4 Things That Affect Your Metabolism

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Metabolism is how your body uses food as energy and then burns that energy to keep your body going.  Even if you did nothing all day, your body would still need to use energy just to stay alive—for things like breathing and keeping your heart beating. This is called resting (or basal) metabolic rate

Your resting metabolic rate is determined by:

  1. Genetics.
    Your weight isn’t just in your jeans – it’s also in your genes! Resting metabolic rate is determined partly by genetics, which are characteristics that are passed down from our parents and grandparents. But genes don’t tell the whole story! Lots of other factors – including things that you can control (like eating and exercise), also play a part.

  2. Age.
    Starting around age 30, metabolism naturally begins to slow down, and it slows by about 5% every 10 years after age 40.  This is partly because we tend to lose muscle and gain fat as we get older, so we need fewer calories to keep our bodies running.  Aging can also affect the thyroid gland which can slow metabolism and increase your chance of weight gain.

  3. Gender.
    On average, women have slower metabolisms than men. Why? Partly because men tend to have more muscle, so they burn more calories. Plus, as women age, they lose muscle mass faster than men.

  4. Weight.
    Weight also affects resting metabolic rate. This is because people who weigh less need less energy (fewer calories) to fuel their bodies. So, if you weigh less, your metabolism will be slower than a woman who is the same age as you but weighs more. When you lose weight, your metabolism also slows, which is part of why it becomes harder to lose weight over time—and to keep the weight off once you’ve lost it.

So what does all this mean? It means that your body’s calorie needs will change as you get older and will also change depending on your daily activity and exercise levels— and it can be very different than what other people might need. And remember: Although it might seem like a lot of factors are working against you, there are lots of things you can do to fight back. Wondering how? Learn more about how to get a healthy weight.

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