Metabolism: This word refers to the range of biochemical interactions that break down the energy (food) we consume. Our metabolism rates depend on the energy we consume and the energy (exercise, biological processes) we exude…and genetics.
Increasing one’s metabolism is indirectly linked to weight loss. In fact, individuals do not gain weight because they have a slow metabolism; they gain weight because they consume more food than their bodies need for energy. Basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your body needs to carry out basic bodily functions like breathing, circulation, blinking, etc. If you increase your metabolic rate without increasing your calorie consumption, you can aid the weight loss process. Alternatively, you could also decrease your calorie intake (however, this must be done carefully because the body is smart and will hold onto calories if it believes it is being “starved.”)
According to the book The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat well, enjoy life, lose weight, it is thought that many people do not actually have higher metabolisms, but are just more naturally active, not through sport, but through naturally fidgety behavior.
1.Exercise (at least 30 minutes a day). If your body isn’t ready to burn calories faster, you can help it burn calories by making it move.
2.Pump some iron. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue.
3.Incorporate interval training. Increasing our heart rate, instead of exercising in a slow steady way, makes us take in more oxygen. Increased oxygen in our body can help us to burn calories even after our workout is over.
4.Incorporate muscle confusion. This is a way to build more muscle tissue. Trying new exercises (not doing the same exercise every day such as running at the same speed on a treadmill) helps to build muscle because exercise variation better impacts different muscle groups and helps us to avoid the plateau effect where muscles no longer grow because they are adequate to handle the daily exercise.
5.Get fidgety. Sit on an exercise ball at work, walk around when you are on the phone, do projects while watching TV…don’t sit still.
6.Look for opportunities to move. Park further away, walk to the mailbox, clean the house, plant a garden…there’s a lot of fun activity out there.
7.Sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolism will slow as your body tries to conserve energy.
8.Eat often. You don’t want your body going into “starvation mode” where it tries to conserve energy. Incorporate small snacks throughout the day.
9.Eat right. But make sure those snacks are the “right” snacks. Measure the serving size of snacks and consider adding fruits, vegetables, and most importantly, proteins (like nuts) into your snacking routine.
10.Drink plenty of water. Even mild dehydration can cause your metabolism to slow. You need water to process calories, so drink up!
Perry, CG, Heigenhauser, GJ, Bonen, A, Spriet, LL. (2008). High-intensity aerobic interval training increases fat and carbohydrate metabolic capacities in human skeletal muscle. Applied Physiological Nutrition Metabolism. Dec.33(6):1112-23). doi: 10.1139/H08-097
The Mayo Clinic. (2011). The Mayo Clinic diet: Eat well, enjoy life, lose weight. Minnesota, RosettaBooks.
WebMD.com. (2013). Slideshow: 10 Ways to boost your metabolism. Retrieved April 15, 2014