By Julie King, Octane Fitness Blog
Metabolism often gets a bad rap, being blamed for weight gain or inability to lose weight, with people claiming, “I have a slow metabolism.” If you’re one of those people, use these tips on how to increase metabolism.
What is metabolism, really? Essentially, it is the rate at which your body uses calories and expends energy to sustain life and support activity. It shows roughly how many calories your body burns each day. If you have a high metabolism, you use more calories each day without gaining weight; and if your metabolism is low, you don’t require as many calories daily.
Metabolism can be determined indirectly by measuring oxygen consumption in a lab; or, mathematical formulas can help estimate your metabolism. Metabolism is impacted by genetics, and women tend to have a lower metabolic rate than men because they have less muscle mass.
If you increase your metabolism, you potentially can lose weight or eat more without gaining weight. What’s the best way to raise your metabolism, then?
- Exercise – Get active regularly, and be consistent, week after week. Working the body is the most effective way to use calories. And we’re not just talking about pulling a few weeds in the garden – while that’s good, you need to work fairly hard and get your heart rate up for 20-60 minutes to really make a difference. The greater the intensity, the greater the metabolic boost.
- Strength train – This falls under exercise, but isn’t necessarily cardio activity. It means working with body weight, dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands and more to strengthen the muscles. Muscles use calories to function, and the more muscle mass you have, the greater your metabolism. Every pound of muscle uses six calories a day to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only two calories daily. Building muscle is particularly important as you age and typically lose muscle.
- Move, move, move – Activity adds up. Even if you’re not sweating it out at the gym, incorporate more movement into your day. Stand when making phone calls, take the stairs, walk to a nearby lunch place, fidget at your desk and take walking breaks, park farther from your destination and walk, etc.
- Hydrate – Drink plenty of water to keep your metabolism up, as it will decline if you get dehydrated.
- Try coffee and green tea – Although coffee and tea can be diuretics, taken in moderation, the caffeine can give your metabolism a boost. Just make sure you are drinking plenty of water as well.
- Eat regularly and don’t skip meals – Keep your metabolism higher with meals and healthy snacks. When you skip meals, your body thinks it is starving and slows your metabolism automatically. Eat small amounts every few hours to keep your engine running smoothly.
Now that you know some ways how to increase metabolism, get out there and put them to use. You could be shedding pounds before you know it!