Metabolism is one of those words that gets bandied about so much that many people assume they know what it means – until they’re asked to explain it. Fast metabolisms and slow metabolisms are often mentioned in terms of weight loss, so people have a vague idea that metabolism has something to do with how you burn calories – but what exactly? If you have a so called “slow” metabolism, what makes it slow and what does it mean to your life. Understanding the real meaning of metabolism and metabolic speed is crucial if you want to manage it, your weight and your overall health.
First things first, take a look at what your metabolism really is. Rather than being one specific thing that can be easily pointed at, your metabolism is actually made up of a complex set of processes and chemical reactions in your body. Each of these processes works to turn the calories you consume into the energy your body uses to run. Every single thing that happens in your body; be it an involuntary action like your heart beating or your cells dividing, or a voluntary one, like playing a game of softball, your metabolism provides the juice to make it all possible. Without a metabolism, your body would wind down and stop working completely – in other words, you would die.
With your metabolism playing such a central role in your health, it is easy to understand how changes in the speed at which it works can affect you in a major way. A “slow” metabolism – when you metabolism works less efficiently than its normal pace – can have serious repercussions. The first thing most people thing of is weight gain, and that is definitely a factor. When your metabolism is moving slowly, it stops so many calories into energy and instead simply stores them as fat to be used at a later time. In turn, the excess weight slows the metabolism, turning weight gain and reduced metabolic functioning into a vicious cycle.
However, while weight gain is the most obvious symptom of a slow metabolism, it is not the only health risk it brings with it. When your metabolism is moving slowly, everything in your body moves a little slower. You have less energy over all, and this can manifest itself in a host of different symptoms. You may feel extremely fatigued; feel cold all the time, experience hair loss, dry skin, depression, anxiety, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate and menstrual problems. Even when you metabolism returns its normal functioning rate, it can take a long time for the symptoms to catch up, so you could experience these feels for well after your metabolism is not “slow” any more.
The good news is that there are things you can do to boost your metabolism. Eat small, frequent meals so stays on all of the time and add weight training to your exercise routine, as muscle tissue boosts the metabolic rate. If nothing seems to be working, pay a visit to the doctor who may be able to find a medical reason your metabolism is being compromised.