We read about raising our metabolism to burn body fat, but do we know how important a healthy metabolism is when it comes to not only the physical changes but also the chemical changes in our body?

The word metabolism is derived from Greek and simply means "change" or "transformation". What this means for us is the transformation of food into energy, the formation of new hormones, the growth of bone and muscle tissue, the destruction of body tissues and many other processes.

Metabolism aids the digestive system as well as the absorption of nutrients, and is mostly affected by nutrition, hydration and physical activity. When any one of these is deficient our metabolic rate decreases. This means our weight loss and weight maintenance are directly related to a healthy metabolism. So if you're not eating healthy, drinking enough water or exercising then you can expect your body to be underperforming.

Another way to view this is when we decrease our energy intake or go on a low calorie diet our metabolism decreases, causing us to burn fewer calories and less fat. It may even cause our body to store excess fat in reserve, defeating the object of the lower calorie intake. It's important to keep the fluids up as hydration levels are extremely important in the role of metabolism. More than 70 per cent of bodily functions take place in water, so insufficient water causes all of your systems to slow down. You know that feeling of brain drain at 3pm.

Advertisement

Our metabolic rate or the way we use energy and burn calories is most influenced by exercise. When we begin an exercise programme the amount of calories we burn increases and as we become fitter and gain lean muscle we burn more calories at rest. One way to increase lean muscle is to join a gym and work out using resistance or weights. If you do this then watch those calories "burn baby burn" while you watch TV! And trust us, you can increase your lean muscle at any age — take a look at our gym sometime and see what some of our older members are doing to increase their muscle strength and fitness.

Give your metabolism a kickstart and eat breakfast. Eating first thing will boost your energy levels and set you up for the day. Another less inviting way to burn calories is expose yourself to the cold. This will stimulate shivering — no kidding — and can raise your metabolic rate by up to 50 per cent. Bring on the cold weather!
While it's important to exercise for lots of other reasons, exercise is the most important factor in the transformation of your mental, spiritual and physical body.

Do you need help to get started or are you looking for a change and some variety in your exercise routine? Come in and see us at Her Fitness and book your free no obligation consultation. Phone 3489121 or email results@herfitness.co.nz 59 Ingestre St.

Angela Hewson is director of Her Fitness and a qualified personal trainer.