Metabolism is the set of anabolic and catabolic processes of our body. With the first, we refer to the processes of creation and construction that our body goes to implement (build muscle tissue, put aside energy, form glycogen, etc.), with the second we refer to the processes of destruction (burning energy, losing adipose tissue, etc.).
Anabolism and catabolism are processes that live of a perennial balance, both fundamental for our lives. The former or the latter may prevail depending on the stage. For example, in the context of energy deficit, we will have a prevalence of catabolic processes. Conversely, in the context of calorie surplus, we will have a prevalence of anabolic processes.
This is, overall, the metabolism, this magic word much sought after and used as a key to slim down. In fact, a "slow" metabolism leads us to gain more weight while a "fast" metabolism leads us to lose weight more easily.
In order to understand how it is possible to accelerate the metabolism also with the advancement of age, let’s study together how the metabolism works.
Fast metabolism makes us lose weight
If, as we have seen, metabolism is the balance of anabolic and catabolic pigs of our body, why does a fast metabolism make us lose weight faster? Imagine these processes (anabolic and catabolic) as all the tasks to do within a factory. We must build certain things, destroy others, etc., to keep the "machine" man going. Now, to carry out the tasks we will need workers, these workers are energy (kcal). In fact to form glycogen (anabolic process) you need glucose. To do 10 km of running you will need muscle glycogen and fatty acids.
Energy is the lowest common denominator of all metabolic processes. A higher "work pace" in our factory will require more workers therefore, a faster metabolism will require more energy.
In practice, fast metabolism is a very uncomfortable thing in terms of survival. We have no gender advantages because, as mentioned, anabolic and catabolic processes are always in balance. So, a fast metabolism doesn’t make us feel better or do things better but just do the same things by requiring more energy. In fact, this is an evolutionary disadvantage.
An animal/individual who needs so much energy will have to hunt more, eat more and will have more difficulty in surviving in times of famine.
This is the reason why, as age increases, the metabolism lowers. Everything comes back: the individual who goes on with age will be less performing, less skilled at hunting/gathering, weaker. That’s why a body that requires less energy is more functional in these terms.
Having a fast metabolism, however, in today’s times, in modern society evolved and wealthy, means being able to eat more without getting fat (at the end of the day). The goal is to maintain a healthy, active metabolism and avoid a decrease in it (metabolic depression).
How do we do that?
Increase the metabolism
First point: physical activity.
Physical activity for at least 40' at least 4 times a week allows you to maintain a healthy metabolism. Now, if we can make a mix between cardiovascular activity and weight activities (resistance training) we find the best compromise. It is because the activity with weights allows us to maintain and build muscle tissue thing that keeps the individual in strength, stamina, and also allows us to spend more energy in daily tasks (we will walk more, we will be more active, we will fatigue less in walks or in making stairs, etc.).
Second point: do not reduce the calorie input too much.
Another important point, metabolic depression comes when you tend to eat less.
Maintaining high energy input (the kcal we take) is in this sense essential to keep the body active. The less kcal we introduce, the more our organism "thinks" that we are facing a period of famine and will thus try to reduce expenditure through a series of complex hormonal and metabolic mechanisms available.
Food sources also play an important role.
Choosing food sources that are poorly processed, healthy, of good origin and quality is essential not to start a whole series of inflammatory processes that could lead, in the long run, to metabolic suffering (as well as oxidative stress, insulin resistance, etc.).
As we have seen, the rules to follow are few and are not so different from the general indications to stay in shape and in good health.
With a few precautions, you can keep your metabolism active at any age, compatible with your state of health!