I like to Mov'it Mov'it : Improving your Metabolic health is as simple as a walk in the park!

I like to Mov'it Mov'it : Improving your Metabolic health is as simple as a walk in the park!

Aarti Laxman

“The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.” It’s a phrase you might remember from high school, but it’s a lot more important than just a trivia fact.

Metabolism: This is what drives all the reactions happening in our cells that keep us alive. Metabolism gone wrong is at the heart of mostly every chronic lifestyle disease. 

Metabolism includes:

  • Catabolic reactions: Breaking things down to release energy.

  • Anabolic reactions: Building up new things using that energy.

Energy from catabolic reactions in the mitochondria is used to build everything that makes you who you are—muscles, bones, brain cells, skin cells, and more.

“Metabolism is the foundation of all health. It drives everything else,” says Dr. Casey Means on the Huberman Labs Podcast. However, modern healthcare often overlooks this fact, and instead focuses on treating the symptoms. That’s how we start getting medicines on prescription to manage diabetes or cardiovascular disease. 

What causes poor metabolism?

  • Distressed Mitochondria: Normally mitochondria are tiny structures in cells that produce energy and maintain cell health. When they’re stressed or damaged, they produce too many reactive oxygen species (ROS).

  • Oxidative Stress: Normally, ROS help with cell signaling, but too many cause oxidative stress, damaging mitochondria further and creating a vicious cycle.

  • Inflammation: This cycle leads to inflammation, a constant stress signal, which further harms mitochondria and perpetuates metabolic dysfunction.

And the best part about all this knowledge, is the agency we each have to do the simplest of actions to improve our metabolic function - which is, to move more, eat well, touch grass! Couldn’t get simpler if we tried hard :) and yet! Too many people live sedentary lifestyles.

Practical tips to boost your metabolism:

  • Practise N.E.A.T. - Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Simply put, it is calories that you burn while moving. It includes all the movements you make that aren’t exercise, eating, or sleeping, like typing or doing laundry. 

  • N.E.A.T. At Work: Walk 200 steps every 30-40 minutes. In a 9-hour workday, that is about 2400 to 3600 steps. Use a standing desk to increase your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Pace back and forth while you are on call. If you can’t take such frequent walking breaks, do a slightly longer 10-15 minute walk, every 2 hours.

  • N.E.A.T. At Home: Taking the stairs, walking your dog, doing grocery shopping, a morning walk of about 2000 steps, a post-dinner walk of 2000 steps - do any of them or all of them - this should help you just move

  • 7000 Steps at least: should be your aim for a day. This can enhance your N.E.A.T. and overall health, even if you regularly exercise. In fact, just exercise alone only constitutes an hour of the day, whose benefit cancels out if you are mostly sitting for another 15 of your waking hours.

  • Diet: Eat more whole, unprocessed foods—grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Modern diets often have calorie-rich but nutrient-poor foods that mess with your body’s hunger signals.

    • For those following the Indian vegetarian diet, it’s crucial to add more protein through paneer, tofu, or soya chunks. Also, include diverse grains like barley, oats, and millets for a balanced diet.

    • Make mindful healthier choices, even with your dessert. That’s what we at Artinci are here for! 😃 At Artinci, we believe that even dessert is an opportunity for nutrition, and that’s what our primary ingredients like almond flour, seeds and other nuts, millets - all deliver! Plus, higher protein, higher fibre - what’s not to love?!

  • Walk in nature: Spending time outdoors reduces stress and anxiety, helping to regulate metabolism. A simple stroll around your community’s lanes, for example, can make you feel better and improve your metabolic health.

  • For those with diabetes or prediabetes: Consider continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for a month or two to understand your blood glucose patterns, your glycemic responses to certain foods and tailor your metabolic health plan accordingly.

In summary:

  • Healthy metabolism is essential for overall health, relying on having many well-functioning mitochondria.

  • Improve your metabolism by moving more, eating a balanced diet, spending time in nature, and considering CGM if needed.

Keep Mov'ing!

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