If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s essential to maintain a healthy metabolism. Your metabolic rate is the amount of energy you expend while at rest. Exercise and diet play a large role in this, but many others factors do as well, including your age, genetics, sleep habits and stress levels.
Most people’s metabolism naturally slows down as they age. You can, however, take steps to speed it up. Here are 10 tips to boost your metabolism at any age.
1. Get More Sleep
It may seem counterintuitive that sleeping, the most sedentary activity of all, actually helps to boost your metabolism. However, research has discovered a link between lack of sleep and obesity as well as increased risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Lack of sleep also causes a hormonal imbalance that can increase your appetite. Getting more sleep helps to regulate your appetite and maintain a healthier metabolism. An added benefit is that when you’re well-rested, you’ll have more energy for physical activity.
2. Don’t Sit For Long Periods
With recent evidence linking sitting with an increased risk of many diseases, some people are saying that “sitting is the new smoking.” That may be an exaggeration, but it’s still a good idea to stand up and move around as much as possible. Even if you have a sedentary job, you can get up and stretch and take short walks regularly. Standing desks are another option if you work at home or work for a health conscious employer.
Being sedentary for long periods does create a sluggish metabolism, so it’s best to move around more. Keep this in mind at home as well if you tend to sit in front of your TV or computer for hours on end.
3. Don’t Starve Yourself
While it may seem logical that eating fewer calories helps you to lose weight, this isn’t always the case. Extreme low-calorie diets are notorious for helping people lose weight in the short-term only to gain in all back.
Drastically lowering your caloric intake causes your body to adjust by reducing your metabolic rate. That’s why you shouldn’t deprive yourself of food. Rather, focus on eating a healthy and balanced diet with moderate portions.
4. Do Strength Training
Conventional wisdom holds that aerobic or cardio exercise is the way to boost your metabolism and burn calories. In truth, the best approach is to do both cardio and strength training. Weight lifting or other types of strength training are more efficient than cardio for burning fat.
Building muscle is an effective way to boost your metabolism. If you only do aerobic exercise, you’ll burn calories, but you’ll also tend to lose muscle, which lowers your metabolism. That’s why it’s best to do both.
5. Drink Green Tea
The caffeine in both coffee and tea gives your metabolism a boost. If you exercise, this can be especially beneficial before a workout. Green tea, however, is high in catechins, a powerful antioxidant that helps the body burn fat more efficiently.
People who are sensitive to coffee may also find green tea easier to digest.
6. Eat More High Protein Foods
Including high-quality proteins in your diet such as eggs, lean meat, salmon, and nuts is a good way to increase your metabolism. To get the most out of your protein intake, do regular strength training to help you maintain muscle mass. The combination of eating more protein and working out helps you burn fat and build muscle.
7. Eat Spicy Foods
If you enjoy hot and spicy cuisines such as Mexican, Thai, and Indian, this will be easy for you. There’s evidence that hot peppers boost the metabolism. They also have the effect of making you feel full sooner so they can help you to reduce your portions. Some people, however, are sensitive to spicy foods so don’t overdo it.
8. Drink More Water
Drinking water when you’re thirsty is a healthier alternative to soda, energy drinks, alcohol and even fruit juice. Regular soda is high in sugar and calories while diet soda and other artificially sweetened beverages may increase your appetite and lower your metabolism. Alcoholic beverages such as beer are high in calories, and even small quantities of alcohol slow down your metabolism.
Water is the healthiest drink for quenching your thirst and drinking more water boosts your metabolism.
9. Learn to Relax
Stress not only contributes to many diseases, but it also interferes with your metabolism and can lead to weight gain. Many people also tend to consume unhealthy foods or substances when they feel stressed out. Some of the best natural ways to reduce stress include exercise, socializing, sex, laughter, walks in nature and good music.
10. Do High-Intensity Exercise
If you want to get the most out of your cardio workouts, then do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) rather than working out for a long time at a steady pace. This exercise method involves working out at an intense pace for short periods. You can incorporate this into any workout, whether you’re running outdoors or using a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine. One of the benefits of HIIT is that you can get in an efficient workout in 20 minutes.