Metabolism is the combination of biological processes and chemical reactions that occur in an organism in order to turn food into fuel for the body. The metabolic rate is the rate at which these processes burn ingested calories and turn them into energy. There are several factors that influence the metabolic rate, such as age, sex, genetics, body mass, and diet, but one of the biggest factors is the link between metabolism and exercise.
A person’s total metabolic rate is determined by the rate at which the body uses energy for vital processes. These include activities such as breathing and blood circulation. Also called the basal metabolic rate, or BMR, this is the rate at which the body burns calories during physical activity; and the rate at which the body burns calories during food digestion. This proves that metabolism and exercise are directly related. The greater the physical activity, the faster the body burns calories, which means the higher the metabolic rate.
Most researchers say that exercise is the best way to boost a person's metabolism. Aerobic exercise such as running, swimming, or skipping rope, which raises the body's heart rate and respiratory rate, can speed up metabolism for four hours or more after he or she stops exercising. This continued metabolic boost burns additional calories and is one reason why people wanting to lose weight should incorporate aerobic exercise into their daily routine.
Another way in which metabolism and exercise are related is through muscle-building exercise. Increasing muscle mass through muscle-building exercises, such as weights or push-ups, results in an increased rate of calorie burn because every pound of muscle in our bodies burns around 35 calories a day. By contrast, each pound of fat burns just two calories a day. Therefore the more muscle a person has, the higher his or her caloric burn or metabolic rate.
Diet, along with metabolism and exercise, are three of the most significant contributors to weight management. If a person's caloric intake exceeds his or her caloric burn, the extra calories will be deposited as fat. Aerobic exercise burns off fat calories first, leaving a higher percentage of muscle mass. And muscle-building exercise also increases the amount of muscle tissue, which burns calories at a higher rate than fat. Understanding these interactions is key to a successful weight-loss or weight-control program. A workout regimen for weight loss should incorporate both weight-training and aerobic activity for maximum effect.