Overview: Metabolic Expression & Exercise
Understand your metabolism so that you can start taking control of it.
Metabolism in Review:
Metabolism is a term that is used to refer to a collection of chemical reactions that are essential for maintaining the living state of cells and organisms. Metabolism is divided into two categories: catabolism, which includes the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy and anabolism, which includes the synthesis or building of compounds that are needed by cells and uses energy. Metabolism is very much associated with nutrition and the availability of nutrients. The pathways of metabolism rely on the nutrients that are broken down to produce energy. Proper nutrition/food provides essential nutrients that the body cannot synthesize itself, but are need for energy and as building blocks throughout the body. These essential nutrients can be found in carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These vitamins, minerals and water found in these foods and especially fruits and vegetables are also necessary.
- Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates in food can be found in 3 forms: starch, sugar and cellulose (fiber). Most of the body tissues depend on glucose for much of the necessary activities. Carbohydrates/sugars yield glucose via digestion or metabolism, this glucose is then used by the body to produce usable energy.
- Protein: Proteins are the main tissue builders within the body, as well as playing an essential role in many other ways. Proteins are made up of amino acids that are linked together and there are 20 different amino acids, 8 of which the body is unable to synthesize on its own and must be consumed through the diet.
- Fats: Fats are concentrated sources of energy, as well as being essential for a variety of functions throughout the body. There are essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own and must be consumed through diet. To help ensure that the body can function properly an ideal 1:1 ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids is recommended.
The multiple reactions that make up metabolism are organized within the body into different pathways. These different pathways are organized and specific to transform the basic molecules from nutrition into other useful chemicals/molecules that are needed throughout the body. The transformations of molecules take place through a series of steps and often require a sequence of enzymes and other assisting molecules. These enzymes are essential in metabolism in that they allow the body to drive important reactions that require energy. These enzymes also assist in the regulation of certain pathways in response to changes in environment or signals received from other cells. Reactions that require energy to happen are coupled with other reactions that produce energy.
How Exercise Changes the Game:
There are many factors that can affect metabolism, many of which may be out of personal control. However, exercise is one factor that can have a significant effect on metabolism and is within an individual’s control. Regular exercise requires work from and the buildup of muscle cells. Muscle cells require a lot of energy, resulting in burning calories. These energy needs continue even when someone is not exercising. Exercise continues to be important, especially as we get older. It is common to see a loss of muscle mass with age, which can slow down the metabolism. This makes working out even more important to help stop or slow this process and in some cases, reverse it.
Why is it important:
The process of metabolism is not a simple one. However, the more you understand can the different parts and what can affect them, the more you can take control of your own metabolism and make it start working for you. Your daily diet can make a significant impact on your metabolism. A balanced diet of whole foods plays an important role in ensuring the body is working properly and all the metabolic pathways are balanced properly. An increase in processed food consumption and/or an imbalance of nutrient intake can affect many of the chemical reactions/pathways that make up metabolism. In addition to a balanced diet, adequate physical activity can also have a positive impact on the metabolism. Muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells, making exercise an important part of increasing your metabolism or calorie burning.
- Be Aware:
- As in previous weeks, being aware is always the first step to making changes. Review this week’s presentation and write-up.
- Take note of some of the important parts of metabolism and what types of factors can affect these chemical reactions.
- Take Note:
- .Continue your food journal from previous weeks. Complete for at least 3-4 days, but is best if you can complete for an entire week.
- Make sure to include everything that you are eating and drinking and the amounts/portion sizes.
- Also note your intake of whole foods and processed foods.
- Take Action:
- .Alter: If you notice a lack of whole food intake or an imbalance in specific food groups, find ways to include more of these foods in your diet. If you are consuming a lot of processed foods and sugar, try going at least one day without them.
- Consult: If you are having trouble identifying patterns, including or eliminating certain foods, picking out culprits of dietary imbalance or just want more guidance in your diet patterns, consult a registered dietitian.