Posted on Jun 29, 2013 | Comments 1
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories for fuel. The higher your metabolism, the more calories your body needs to burn just to get through the day. If you want to lose weight, raising your metabolism can help you do it with a minimum of effort.
Some of the factors that contribute to your body’s metabolic rate, like your age or your genetic makeup, can’t be changed. Lifestyle changes can, however, have a huge impact on your metabolism. Eat frequent, small, healthy meals; eat breakfast; get enough sleep; stay active; and add weight training and interval training to your exercise routine. These things combined can raise your metabolism substantially.
Eat to Be Thin
When you think about maintaining a healthy body weight, eating may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But eating frequent, healthy meals is the best thing you can do to maintain a high metabolism and a healthy weight. When you eat too little or too infrequently, your metabolism slows and your body starts hoarding fat, because it thinks you’re facing a famine.
Start each day with a healthy breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast ensures that your body doesn’t go into starvation mode, and it also keeps you from overeating at later meals. Instead of eating three big meals throughout the day, eat several smaller ones. You should plan to eat every two to three hours, and each small meal should be balanced and contain a healthy source of protein. Even if you choose a vegetarian lifestyle, in reference to maintaining a healthy metabolism, protein must be a significant consideration in your meal plan.
Get Your Shut-Eye
Even when you’re asleep, your body is burning calories as it performs all the automatic functions that keep you alive — breathing, repairing and regenerating tissues, pumping blood, and the like. As much as 75 percent of your body’s calorie use occurs during sleep. When you don’t sleep enough, that number goes down.
Sleeping is also linked to your body’s levels of leptin and ghrelin, the hormones that regulate your appetite and energy use. A lack of sleep throws these hormone levels out of whack, leading to increased body weight.
Build Muscle Mass
Muscle tissue is linked to metabolism because your body needs to burn calories to maintain that tissue. So, the more muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolism. That’s why it’s important to incorporate weight-training into your exercise routine. The more muscular you are, the more calories your body will burn all the time, even when you’re asleep or just sitting around.
But it takes more than just weight-training to bulk up. Your body needs protein to build muscle tissue, so make sure you eat plenty of healthy protein each day. Lean meats, fish, nuts and low-fat dairy are good sources of protein.
Try Interval Training
Aerobic exercise is a great way to burn calories and temporarily boost your metabolism for a few hours after you finish your workout. Interval training is a way to get the most out of your aerobic exercise by integrating brief bursts of intense activity into your workout.
The way it works is, for every few minutes of moderate-intensity activity, work in 30 seconds of high-intensity activity. For example, if you’re a jogger, run at your normal, moderate pace for three minutes, and then run as fast as you can for 30 seconds. At the end of the 30 seconds, return to your moderate pace for another three minutes; then, run as fast as you can for 30 seconds again.
Try to integrate up to ten intervals of intense activity into your normal 30-minute aerobic workout session. Interval training significantly boosts your post-workout metabolism, and could help you burn up to 200 more calories in the hours immediately following your aerobic workout.
One of the biggest threats to our metabolic rates is the fact that, as we age, we move less and less. Between desk jobs and television shows, adult Americans in their 30s and 40s spend more and more time on their duffs. All that inactivity contributes to what, for many people, amounts to as much as a 40 percent decrease in metabolic rate over the course of a lifetime.
Counteract that drop in activity by moving as much as you can. If you work sitting down, take frequent breaks to get up and walk around or invest in a standing desk and do some or all of your work on your feet. Take a walk on your lunch break or after work.
If you like to watch TV, use the opportunity to do some exercises while you watch or during commercial breaks instead of just sitting there. Work periods of movement into your day whenever you can —even small periods of movement can make a big difference to your metabolism.
About the Author: Natalie Moore-Rogers is a retired clinical dietitian. After a 30-year career serving patients in nursing homes and hospitals, Natalie is happy to create nutritional and dietary articles as a part-time blogger.
Posted in: General Health