Although boosting your metabolism can help you lose weight, everyone’s metabolism is completely different. For example, some people inherit a faster metabolism than others. Men also tend to burn more calories than women in general. However, most people do experience a slowdown in their metabolism as they age.
Even the climate and place you live can affect your metabolism. If you live in a warmer climate, then you are likely to have a slower metabolism than people who live in colder climates.
How efficiently the body burns calories varies from person to person, and there’s not much you can do to pass the threshold that has been set by genetics, gender, age, and other factors. You can, however, take steps to improve your metabolism.
12 ways to boost your metabolism
1. Build muscle
Your body burns calories even when you are resting. However, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn—a pound of muscle burns more calories (six calories) than body fat (two calories). Therefore, strength training can help you gradually increase your metabolic rate.
2. Do high-intensity exercises
Aerobic exercises can boost your metabolism, but it’s important to step up the intensity. Short bursts of higher intensity workouts can help boost your metabolism better than low- or moderate-intensity exercises. Try varying your workouts by incorporating harder exercises or by jogging every once in a while during your walk.
3. Eat more protein
Try to include more protein-rich foods in your diet. Your body burns more calories when digesting protein than when digesting carbs and fats. Try replacing carb-heavy foods with lean protein, such as fish, white meat chicken, lean turkey, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.
4. Have small, frequent meals
According to some studies, people who have small, frequent (5-6) meals or snacks throughout the day burn more calories than people who eat large, fewer (2-3) meals throughout the day. Snacking every few hours keeps your metabolism going and helps you avoid overeating during regular mealtimes.
5. Drink more water
Your body needs water to burn calories. One study found that people who drank 8 glasses of water a day were able to burn more calories than people who drank only half that amount. Stay hydrated by drinking water before every meal. Choose snacks with high water content, like fruits and vegetables.
6. Maintain an adequate calorie intake
Eating too few calories than your body needs can affect your metabolism significantly. Although you need to drop down a few calories from your daily diet, a much lower calorie intake, in the long run, signals your body to slow your metabolism.
7. Drink black coffee
If you drink coffee regularly, it can not only give you a boost of energy but also provide a short-term increase in your metabolic rate. If you are looking to lose weight, switch to black coffee instead of adding milk.
8. Sip green tea
Green tea contains caffeine and catechins, both of which boost metabolism for a couple of hours after consumption. Studies have suggested that drinking tea can increase your calorie burn by 17% during moderately intense activities.
9. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
Staying physically inactive for a long time, such as sitting in one place for long hours, can reduce your metabolism and impair the body's ability to break down fat.
10. Get enough sleep
A lack of sleep can significantly affect your metabolism. Studies suggest that sleep deprivation can alter the hormones involved in regulating metabolism. Therefore, make sure you get seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Your metabolism is higher when you go into a deep sleep state, particularly rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep, also known as stage R, usually begins about 90 minutes after you fall asleep. During REM sleep, your heart rate increases and your brain becomes active as it is during the day. This requires more glucose and leads to higher metabolism.
11. Take hot baths
Taking a warm or hot bath daily can help improve your metabolism and shed those extra pounds to some extent. A hot bath increases your heart rate by 40 to 50 percent, improves oxygenation to the tissues, and thereby stimulates the metabolism. Moreover, a hot bath an hour before your bedtime can make you fall asleep faster and get a restful sleep.
12. Get proper treatment for your medical conditions
Health issues, such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, can affect your metabolism and reduce your ability to lose weight. Follow your doctor’s advice and take your medications regularly to avoid gaining weight due to slow metabolism. Proper treatment can improve your metabolism and aid in your weight loss journey.
Can crash diets slow down your metabolism?
Crash diets or diets that put too many restrictions on your calorie intake can be bad for your metabolism. With some of these diets, your body depends on breaking down the muscles for fuel instead of fat. When you lose muscle mass, you slow your metabolism.
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Jurgens TM, Whelan AM, Killian L, et al. Green tea for weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight or obese adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Dec 12;12(12):CD008650.
Park JH, Moon JH, Kim HJ, et al. Sedentary lifestyle: Overview of updated evidence of potential health risks. Korean J Fam Med. 2020;41(6):365-373.
Goto Y, Hayasaka S, Kurihara S, Nakamura Y. Physical and mental effects of bathing: A randomized intervention study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:9521086.
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