Let Us Burn More Fat


If you are on a diet or know someone who is, then you have definitely heard of “metabolism”. We often hear people saying that one must do this or eat that to speed up metabolism, normally mentioned in reference to “burning fat”. What most of us know about metabolism is its miraculous ability to turn the overweight into healthy, slim human beings; let us then find out more about metabolism, while focusing on which exercises specifically improve it.

Have you ever thought how that bar of chocolate you ate is stored in your body as fat? This is where metabolism comes in; it is a vital, ongoing process that is responsible for transforming the food we eat into energy or fat through numerous chemical reactions that take place inside the cells. When we eat, the enzymes in our digestive system break different nutrients in our food, turning them into something else that we can use as energy; amino acids, fatty acids, and simple sugars. However, not everything we eat is transformed into energy that we use right; sometimes, food is stored as fat.

Metabolism involves two activities. The first is “anabolism”, which is responsible for building tissues and saving energy that the body can use later; this includes creating new cells and repairing tissues. The second is “catabolism” and it is responsible for producing energy. So, where does burning fats fit in? This requires a glimpse at the term “calorie”, after which we can tell how exercise and which exercises help in speeding up metabolism and burning fat.

A calorie is a measurement of energy a certain food provides to the body; if you take more calories than your body needs, they will be stored as fat. Knowing what we now know about metabolism, anabolism, catabolism, and calories, how does exercise contribute to the fat burning process? In exercise, what influences fat-burning metabolism is what is known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). After exercise, the body seeks to recover and return to its resting state; hence, the EPOC process takes place. It includes restoring normal breathing, decreasing body temperature, and re-oxygenation of blood; it requires energy and consequently expends more calories burning by more fat.

Are there certain exercises that help us burn calories and lose weight faster, or do all activities count? By building muscle mass, you can increase the rate of burning calories; 0.45 kg of muscle burns more calories a day at rest than fat. As such, increasing muscle mass is relevant when trying to lose weight. When you think of muscle mass, you think only of weight lifting; however, it is not the only way. Many other exercises help, such as push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches, lunges, and leg squats. Resistance tubing also works; if you like, you can also use free weights such as dumbbells and choose the weight that is most suitable for you.

Photo created by shurkin_son - www.freepik.com

There are other factors that can affect the rate of metabolism and cannot be controlled; these include genetics, body size, hormones, weather, and gender. Moreover, as you age, your metabolic rate becomes slower due to the loss of muscle mass, which you can improve by exercising. Furthermore, certain diseases slow down metabolism; such as diabetes and hypothyroidism—under-active thyroid. The thyroid gland of people who suffer from hypothyroidism does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone the body needs; as a result, their metabolism slows down and they gain weight. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes slows metabolism as the body becomes resistant to insulin because of its elevated levels. Elevated insulin levels deter fat metabolism and increase fat storage.

By making healthy food adjustments and exercising, you can foster your calorie burning and lose weight. There is no magical trick that speeds up the rate at which your body burns calories while at rest, that is your basal metabolic rate. Yet, by eating right and building more muscle mass, you will burn calories. There are no shortcuts, so eat healthy and exercise, and your body will thank you for it.



Main photo created by drobotdean - www.freepik.com

This article was published in SCIplanet magazine, Summer 2018 issue.

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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