Your metabolism is a complex process involving hormones and enzymes in your body that convert food into fuel. Like most things about our bodies, I don’t believe that people can truly understand the full scope of what metabolism is, or how our bodies regulate it. However here is some of what we do understand about metabolism: It is the rate in which your body uses energy or burns calories. Your metabolism establishes how quickly you gain or lose wait. Your resting metabolic rates (RMR) and basil metabolic rates (BMR) are for all intents and purposes the same thing. They both essentially represent the amount of calories burnt for a minimal sustenance of your body. If you were to rest for 24 hours, how many calories would your body need to maintain your basic needs such as your heart, lungs, and kidney functions?
Your metabolism is influenced by many factors. Age, genes, health, weight, gender, stress level, and even environmental temperature, are a few things determining metabolism rates. Many of these factors cannot be controlled or changed by you. However, there are some things you can do to increase your RMR. If you do not follow some of the tips in this article your metabolism will decrease with age, mostly due to being less active. Most people’s bodies progress as follows:
When people are in their 20’s muscle and bone mass are at their peak.
When people are in their 30’s muscles become less efficient.
When people are in their 40’s a drop in estrogen lowers metabolism even further.
When people are in their 50’s muscle mass and bone density are lowered considerably due to a big decrease in physical activity.
The TOP 3 methods to increase your RMR and counter the effects of age are: Exercise, nutrition, and fluids
EXERCISE to INCREASE METABOLISM:
· The most effective way to burn calories is to build muscles and to stay active. Muscle cells burn three times as many calories as fat cells. After resistance training exercises, muscles are activated and have been found to burn calories for many hours later. One study found that after six months of resistance training, participants had raised their RMR by 100 calories per day.
· Cardiovascular exercises also boost the metabolism. A more recent study found that after sixteen months of practicing moderate intensity cardiovascular exercises (3-5 days per week, for 20-45 minutes each time) subjects increased their RMR by 129 calories per day. Generally, a higher intensity exercise routine will result in a bigger and longer lasting increase in RMR.
· Interval training is great because it can achieve a higher-intensity exercise session all together. Additionally, strength training exercises can be incorporated into an interval workout routine. One example of an interval workout is to first warm up for five-ten minutes. Then alternate two minutes of moderate intensity cardio with 30 seconds of putting all your effort into it. Another option is to include strength training. For example, alternate two minutes of moderate cardio with 30 seconds-1minute of push ups, then another two minutes of cardio, followed by 30 seconds-1minute of squats, and continue with that pattern, with other exercises, such as lunges, dumbbell presses, etc.
EAT to INCREASE METABOLISM:
· Eating breakfast turns on your digestive system and tells your body “it’s time to get moving.” If you’re one of those people who are simply not hungry in the morning you don’t have to eat right away. Drink some water, do what you need to do in the morning, shower, etc. After being awake for an hour or so, if you’re still not super hungry, eat a light breakfast such as a banana and some almonds, an egg, a bit of oatmeal or a smoothie.
· Having frequent smaller meals over the course of the day helps you burn more calories overall. Snacking or eating light meals every 3-4 hours can ensure that you are not famished at meal times, helping you avoid over eating.
· Protein helps maintain lean muscle mass on the body. Protein can help you maintain an even level of energy throughout the day, and avoiding common energy crashes. Additionally, digesting protein takes more effort and causes the body to burn more calories. Your body does need healthy carbs and fats, and don’t forget plenty of vegetables, but ensuring that you ingest a regular supply of lean, protein-rich foods can help boost your metabolism.
· Crash Diets usually result in a deficient intake of nutrients and in low blood sugar. This gives the brain the message of hunger or starvation and propels the body into survival mode, forcing it to slow down its metabolism and to conserve fat reserves on the body. These diets successfully result in weight-loss, but the loss is often a high percentage of muscle, which further slows your metabolism. If you are a woman you should not eat fewer than 1,200 calories (and if you’re a man you should not go lower than 1,800 calories) per day.
· Women lose iron during pregnancy, during childbirth, and during their monthly menstrual cycle. Iron is necessary to carry oxygen to your muscles. If you are iron anemic your muscles will not be getting enough oxygen, causing you to feel utterly exhausted. If you suspect that you may have low iron levels, get your blood work checked out. There are many supplements out there that can help. You can also try eating a lot of iron rich foods such as red meat, beans, and dark leafy greens like spinach, Kale, collard greens and broccoli.
DRINK to INCREASE METABOLISM:
· Drinking water has always and will always be important. The body needs water for many if not all of its functions. Processing calories takes water. Even the most minor degree of dehydration can slow down your metabolism. Taking small sips of water throughout the day is easier for your body to absorb than drinking full glasses of water at a time. Try to carry a water bottle with you. This way you can also keep track of how many times you refill it and make sure to drink at least 8 cups of water each day. Another way to help you remember to get those cups of water in is to drink one cup before each meal.
· Green tea and coffee have been found to have positive effects on health, in moderation of course. Firstly I encourage you to listen to your body. Some people feel fine drinking caffeinated drinks, while others don’t feel so great. I trust you to decipher your body’s messages to you. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system by increasing the heart rate and breathing. This can feel invigorating to some people yet anxiety provoking to others. If your body tolerates caffeine well, or even thrives when you drink it, then green tea, white tea and oolong tea also have the added benefit of catechins, substances shown to speed up the metabolism for a couple of hours.
I want to encourage you to keep taking good care of your body. We all have times when our health slips because life gets in the way and we simply don’t have time or energy to do what it takes to exercise, eat well and drink enough. However, try to always come back to a routine of self-care. Don’t allow old age and stressful life situations to be excuses to lessen your self-care. Your loved ones need you around as long as possible and as healthy as possible so that you can truly enjoy your life. I wish you blessings of health and wellbeing. ~Rachel Sacks
P.S. Do you wish to use this article on your website, blog, or newsletter? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Rachel Sacks is the author of “Exercise, Eat and Drink to Increase Your Metabolism”. You can download her special report on how to “Achieve a Strong Postpartum Core in Just 15 Minutes a Day” by going to www.newmotherwellness.com