Metabolism is the chemical process that converts calories into energy. Your metabolism is involved in all of your body’s actions. Every movement whether internal (breathing, thinking, etc.) or external (every movement, every action) is impacted by your metabolism. So, if you want to get healthier or lose some weight, think about how your metabolism can help or hinder you. Here are three tips for giving your metabolism a quick boost.
1. Get plenty of Sleep!
I know that you keep hearing this, but its true! Not getting enough sleep will mess up your metabolism. It can make you sluggish and increases your chances of developing serious diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even stroke. A recent study at the University of Chicago showed that just a few nights of poor sleep can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to getting diabetes.
2. Build some muscle!
According to Michael Zemel, PhD, former director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee, lean muscle burns more calories than fat. That’s true even when you’re resting! Increasing your muscle mass helps increase your metabolism which leads to a quicker burning of calories. This is particularly important for those of us who have hit middle age and may be experiencing some loss of muscle as our metabolism slows. The solution? It doesn’t mean that you have to start pumping iron at the gym! Adding light weight training, even light dumbbells or some resistance bands will have a positive impact. Heck, you can do the dumbbells and resistance bands for 15 minutes as you watch TV!
3. Get moving!
One of the keys to increasing your metabolism is up your activity level. Long periods of sitting or inactivity can make your metabolism sluggish, and damage your health and sense of wellbeing. Get up and walk around. Do a few exercises while you watch TV. Add walking 10 – 20 minutes to your daily routine. If you get really serious about it, buy a Fitbit wristband, or one similar to it, and keep track of your activity. I recently started wearing a Fitbit several days each week and it has made me more aware of what I am doing – and not doing!
One Caution – Don’t starve yourself!
Some people try to jump start a diet or weight loss plan by following a very low calorie diet or skipping meals. Don’t do it! It will slow down your metabolism and eventually undermine your weight loss goals. Studies have shown that this type of dieting often has short term success but usually results in later weight gain that is harder to reverse.
Here’s hoping we can all finish the summer stronger and healthier!
To your health!