Simply put, metabolism is the way your body converts the calories your derived from your food into energy required to maintain life. It is a biochemical process that determines the body’s ability to perform tasks, especially the ones that burn fat.
Thus, the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is among the most common factors that affect the number of calories that you burn in a day. It is the rate at which your body burns energy while at rest.
Though this BMR usually depends on your genes still, you can take certain steps to improve your metabolism. Plus, keep in mind that your metabolism can be influenced by metabolic disorders caused by abnormal functioning or levels of enzymes or hormones that convert food into fuel for energy.
People often blame ‘sluggish metabolism’ for their weight gain. Metabolism, however, is not the sole cause of being overweight or obese. More often than not, these issues are the result of energy imbalance.
Some of the most common symptoms of slow metabolism are low blood pressure, slow pulse, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, and increased sensitivity to cold. Men mostly have higher metabolism than women.
Tips for Increasing Metabolism To Maintain Healthy Weight
Determine the Amount of Calories You Require Daily
This can greatly help in determining the energy needs of your body so that you can modify your lifestyle to reduce excess weight in a healthy way.
To determine your calorie requirements, take your body size, composition (lean body mass or muscle-fat ratio), gender, and age into consideration. Do not resort to crash diets, though. Plus, do not skip breakfast as it revs up your metabolism in the morning.
You can calculate your daily calorie requirements with the help of the following formula:
BMR for men = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
BMR for women = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
In case you have weight in pounds and height in feet, use the formula given below:
BMR for men = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in year)
BMR for women = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Further, you will have to multiply your BMR with your activity factor to get an estimate of the amount of calories that you need daily.
Thus, if you are sedentary, that is, involved in little or no activity then just multiply your BMR value with 1.2. Similarly, use BMR x 1.375, BMR x 1.55. BMR x 1.725, and BMR x 1.9 respectively for lightly active, moderately active, very active, and extra active.
Divide Your Meals Wisely
It is suggested to take frequent but smaller meals instead of fewer but larger meals in order to speed up your metabolism and burn more calories.
If you tend to eat after longer intervals, your body takes it as starving and starts saving rather than burning your calories.
Moreover, eating smaller meals at regular intervals regulates blood sugar levels, avoids binge eating, and prevents heartburn. Therefore, consider eating small quantities of food three to six times in a day.
Physical activity, especially a combination of aerobic (for instance, walking, jogging, running, swimming, cycling, rope-skipping, skating, water aerobics, etc.) and anaerobic exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, sprinting, and so on) can prove to be useful in improving your metabolism.
In fact, it is advised to exercise about five times in a week. Going in a sauna, too, can help increase metabolism and burn fat.
Furthermore, for those who wish to gain weight, it is recommended to increase the muscle mass rather than fat. The reason why higher muscle mass is preferred is that muscles use more calories for sustenance than fat.
Consequently, it has been observed that individuals with a muscular composition have a higher metabolism. Resistance training such as lifting weights is highly beneficial in this regard.
Check out this video giving information on metabolism and ways to increase the metabolic rate.
Take Adequate Sleep
Proper sleep also plays an important role in maintaining healthy metabolism as it lowers the levels of hormones (leptin) that control appetite, thereby leading to overeating and weight gain.
These hormones can be altered both by excessive as well as insufficient sleep. Therefore, try to follow a consistent sleep schedule and take about six to eight hours of good night’s sleep. Keep in mind that sleep requirements tend to vary from one individual to another.
Foods That Increase Metabolism
It is believed that spicy and high protein foods are helpful in speeding up the metabolism, to some extent. Thus, consider munching on high-protein and low calorie foods. Plus, opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead of packaged food items.
Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, whey, fish, poultry, steak, soy products, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes are considered as good sources of proteins.
In addition, hot peppers and spices such as cayenne, jalapeno, black pepper, chili, cinnamon, garlic, mustard seeds, etc. assist in keeping the metabolic rate high and burning more calories. Moreover, grapefruits, apples, pears, oatmeal, broccoli, and spinach are beneficial for a better metabolism.
Stimulants like caffeine and energy drinks can also boost metabolism. On the downside, though, they are likely to disrupt your sleep, and cause issues like anxiety, restlessness, irritability, upset stomach, etc.