What Is A Calorie And Why Is It Important To Know How Many Calories There Are In Certain Foods?

Keith Ayoob answers the question: 'What is Metabolism, Can I Change It?'

ByABC News
December 22, 2008, 3:55 PM

February 1, 2009 -- Question: What is metabolism, and is it possible to change my metabolic rate?

Answer: Your metabolism is basically a measure of how fast your body burns calorieswhen it's at rest. It's kind of similar to how fast your car idles when it's at rest and going nowhere. So it's important to understand that your metabolism is not how many calories you'll need for the day, but really, rather how many calories your body burnswhen you're just sitting down.

It is possible to change that because your metabolism is affected by a number of different factors, but it does take time. A few factors that you can use to keep your metabolism high are to remember a few things. First, don't skip meals. When you have long periods of time, twelve hours or more when you don't eat meals, your metabolism adapts to this by slowing down how fast it burns calories. Secondly, you can make sure you do physical activity regularly because physical activity certainly burns more calories. But it also burns calories even after you stop doing the exercise. Even after you stop running or bicycle riding or doing anything physically active your body will still continue to burn calories rather rapidly for ten to twenty minutes.

Another thing you can do to make sure that your metabolism stays as fast as it can, is to make sure you do a little bit of strength training. You're building up and maintaining muscle tissue. Muscle tissue burns calories more fast, more quickly than fat tissue. So maintaining enough muscle tissue is important for a good metabolic rate.