Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Strength training can increase your metabolism by increasing muscle mass.

Strength training can increase your metabolism by increasing muscle mass.
beginning of content

Metabolism

Metabolism refers to all the chemical processes your body uses to produce energy. Your body converts food to energy to carry out the every day functions it needs to maintain itself. You may want to know more about your metabolism, what affects it, and if you can change or boost it.

Your body breaks down carbohydrates, fat and protein from food and drink, and converts these into energy for everyday functions like:

  • breathing
  • digesting food
  • circulating blood
  • repairing and growing cells.

Your metabolic rate is the amount of energy your body uses per day to carry out these functions.

How does your metabolism work?

Your metabolism consists of two processes, catabolism and anabolism, that are carefully regulated to remain in balance:

  • Catabolism is the process of breaking down food into simpler forms, releasing energy.
  • Anabolism is the process of using this energy to grow and repair cells in the body.

If your body consumes more energy than it needs, it usually stores the excess as fat.

What can affect your metabolism?

Factors that affect your metabolism include:

  • body size and composition – larger people, and those with more muscle, burn more kilojoules, even when resting
  • gender – men usually burn more kilojoules than women of the same age and weight, partly because men often have more muscle relative to body weight
  • age – as you get older, you lose muscle, which slows metabolism
  • genes – genes play a role in muscle size and growth, which can affect your metabolism.

Metabolism and your health

Health issues can affect your metabolism. Hyperthyroidism can increase your metabolism and cause sudden weight loss, sweating, or an altered heartbeat. Hypothyroidism can disrupt metabolism and lead to obesity, joint pain and infertility.

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions including:

Your metabolism can also affect your health. It appears that people have different metabolic rates, and that has an influence on people’s weight. Being overweight or underweight can affect your health.

Can I increase my metabolism?

There is little scientific evidence to show that any foods or supplements can boost your metabolism. Although it's hard to change your metabolism, the more physical activity you do, the more kilojoules (energy) you use.

Some ways to burn kilojoules include aerobic activity (including walking, cycling and swimming), strength training, and by moving around more each day. Strength training can increase your metabolism by increasing muscle mass.

If you are concerned about your health or your metabolism, you should see your doctor.

Sources:

myVMC (Metabolism and energetics), Mayo Clinic (Metabolism and weight loss: how you burn calories), NHS, UK (How can I speed up my metabolism), Mayo Clinic (Is it possible to be overweight with slow metabolism?;), MedlinePlus (Metabolic disorders), Healthy WA (Hyperthyroidism), UpToDate (Patient Information: Metabolic Syndrome)

Last reviewed: June 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 174 results

Aerobic exercise: what you need to know - myDr.com.au

Aerobic exercise refers to exercise that requires the consumption of substantially more oxygen than at rest.

Read more on myDr website

Metabolic syndrome - myDr.com.au

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Lifestyle changes are the first step in its treatment.

Read more on myDr website

Metabolic syndrome - Lab Tests Online AU

Metabolic syndrome is a set of risk factors that includes: abdominal obesity, a decreased ability to process glucose (insulin resistance), dyslipidaemia, and hypertension. Patients who have this syndrome have been shown to be at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is a common condition that goes by many names (dysmetabolic syndrome, syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome and obesity syndrome) but few outside the medical community have heard of it. Most patients have been educated about the importance of checking their cholesterol levels, watching for signs of diabetes, having their blood pressure monitored, and exercising but there has been little to tie all of these factors together except pursuit of a 'healthier lifestyle'.

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Metabolic syndrome | Better Health Channel

Read more on Better Health Channel website

What is Metabolic Syndrome? Dietitians Association of Australia

What is Metabolic Syndrome? Metabolic syndrome (also called syndrome X) is the name for a group of risk factors related to heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Read more on Dietitians Association of Australia website

Strength training exercises - myDr.com.au

Challenging your muscles with strength training exercises 2 or 3 times each week can improve the strength and tone of your muscles.

Read more on myDr website

Exercise to burn fat - myDr.com.au

Find out about which types of exercise are best to burn fat and help you lose weight. To reduce total body fat, focus on increasing your physical activity, rather than decreasing energy consumed.

Read more on myDr website

Warming up and cooling down for exercise - myDr.com.au

Warming up before exercise and cooling down and stretching after it are important parts of an exercise programme.

Read more on myDr website

Make Healthy Normal - Tips to improve exercise habits

Doing something is better than nothing! Not sure where to start? If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up the duration and intensity of your physical activity

Read more on Make Healthy Normal website

How diet and exercise can affect acne | All About Acne

Find out how food and exercise can affect acne | All About Acne provides independent, evidence-based information about acne causes, skin care and treatments

Read more on All About Acne website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback