To put it in simple terms, the body’s metabolism is the rate at which the body burns calories. The metabolism impacts how much weight a person carries and how quickly or efficiently the can lose weight.
Generally speaking men have a faster metabolism that women and younger people burn calories more easily than older people do.
So one’s age, gender and genetics largely controls the body’s metabolic rate. But there are a few things within our control as well. Let’s look at how the body’s metabolic rate and other factors impact weight loss and how you can control these to rev up your metabolism.
Exercises to boost the metabolism
One simple rule of thumb is that muscles boost the metabolism and burn more calories than fat because muscles consume more energy even when at rest. So the more muscle mass there is in the body, more calories will be burnt.
- Keep active all day. Even if you’re tied down to a desk job, get up and move every hour or two. Rather than call up a colleague in the same office, go over and speak to them. Take the stairs rather than the elevator or the escalator. Do a few stretches sitting at your desk. In short, you need to keep your body moving as much as possible.
- Your aerobic exercise is certainly important – take the time to do any kind of aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, running, dancing and cycling; any exercise that involves the body’s cardiovascular system. The important thing is to make your exercise regimen more intense. Try intervals to up the intensity of your workout.
- Do weights. Women tend to worry that weights will make them bulk up but this is typically untrue. Doing weights and other resistance exercises helps the body develop lean muscle, which is very important in helping the body burn calories and hence fat.
Other tips to boost the metabolism
- Use a pedometer to keep a track of how many steps you’ve taken in a given day. When you commit to remaining more active through the day, the extra steps that you take can cumulatively make a difference, so track your progress.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Some experts also recommend that you drink cold water – the body burns those few extra calories to bring the water temperature up to the body’s core temperature.
- Improve your breathing patterns. The ancients who developed yogic theories believed that proper breathing helps the body’s organs and limbs remain oxygenated and therefore healthier. Improper breathing that is erratic, shallow or restricted could negatively impact the functioning of your body. Learning how to practice breath yoga (also known as Pranayam) can help. So can getting a breathing trainer that is specially designed to improve your breathing patterns and abilities. These can help to improve the body’s oxygenation levels and hence energy levels and could also help with weight loss. This can be a safe and cost effective way to improve the body’s metabolism with little or no effort.
- Get enough restful sleep. Numerous studies have demonstrated that insufficient rest can result in a sluggish metabolism and hinder your weight loss efforts. Not getting enough rest also increases the body’s stress levels – stress is another known culprit that contributes to obesity and various other metabolism-related conditions.
Eating to boost the metabolism
- How and when you eat is as important as what you eat. Adopt a few simple rules about eating when you’re trying to up your metabolism and keep it elevated through the day. Don’t skip meals – when the body doesn’t get fuel it naturally tries to conserve energy and prevents it from being expended by slowing down the metabolism of calories.
- Also have a proper breakfast. Give your day a good start by kick starting your metabolism. This way the body keeps getting the fuel it needs and sees no reason to slow down. So eat small, frequent meals; many experts have recommended this based on studies as well as professional experience.
- Pay attention not only to the ingredients that you consume but how they are cooked. Grilled, broiled or roasted is always better than fried. Also have food that is as close to its natural state as possible. That means food that is minimally processed nor refined, with the fewest amounts of additives and artificial ingredients such as preservatives, food colors and so on.
- Eat foods that are nutrient rich and not calorie dense. It goes without saying that you should be eating plenty of fresh, seasonal veggies and fruit. These fill you up with healthy, complex carbs that will release energy slowly and consistently, keeping the metabolism revved. Eating good quality, lean protein such as skim milk, white meat and eggs also provides the body nutrition and keeps it feeling fuller for longer.