According to the Mayo Clinic, metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.
For most people, actual exercise only accounts for 10% of their metabolism.
- Fueling your cells and keeping your heart pumping,
- Maintaining blood circulation
- Lung function
- Adjusting hormone levels
- Growing and repairing cells
- Keeping your digestive system working
- Ensuring energy to keep brain neurons firing (in fact, your brain alone needs about 420 calories a day just to keep functioning)
Several factors determine individual basal metabolism, including:
- Your body size and composition: People who are larger, or have more muscle, burn more calories– even at rest.
- Your sex: Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, which means men burn more calories.
- Your age: Metabolism steadily slows after the age of 40. The amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight as you age, slowing down calorie burning.
- You may have a naturally faster or slower metabolism, though lifestyle still has a big impact.
- – releases hormones that interfere with digestion, so food isn’t used as efficiently.
- This is critical. When your body is short on sleep, it’s pushed into conservation mode, so you burn fewer calories.
- Physical activity: Physical activity and exercise is by far the most variable of the factors that determine how many calories you burn each day.
- Activity level: When you are more active during the day through routine daily movements like walking or standing, your body burns more calories.
- Hormones: If thyroid hormones are not produced properly by your body, your metabolism may increase or decrease, depending on the hormone level.
- Food intake: It’s not just what you eat, but how much as well. If you don’t eat enough food, your metabolism slows.