Habits that can help boost your metabolism

Habits that can help boost your metabolism

Do you eat healthily and try to keep active, but that unwanted weight still seems to creep on? It’s time to check in with your stalled metabolism

Do you eat healthily and try to keep active, but that unwanted weight still seems to creep on? It’s time to check in with your stalled metabolism

As we age, our metabolic rate becomes sluggish, decreasing at an average of two per cent every decade over the age of 20. It’s frustrating, but fortunately there are some easy lifestyle tweaks that can help stoke the fires and get that metabolism burning again.

Move as much as possible

Diet is important when it comes to boosting your metabolism, but exercise is your real secret weapon. Doing any type of cardiovascular activity will not only burn calories while exercising, but will also increase the body’s metabolic rate long after you’ve left the gym. Doing five sessions of moderate cardio per week, for a minimum of 20 minutes each time, increases a woman’s daily burn by an average of 109 calories even on the days they aren’t working out.

But to really give your metabolism a boost, try some high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These fast-paced, short workouts torch calories and cause a longer rise in resting metabolic rate. The idea is to alternate fast periods of intense activity with slow recovery intervals, as opposed to working at a steady pace throughout. 

Try an intensive HIIT fitness class, alternating walking and sprinting, or pick four moves (such as jumping jacks, burpees, squats, lunges, push-ups or planks), and do each one for 30 seconds as hard as you can, then rest for 30 seconds. Do three rounds of the four moves. It will be the hardest 12 minutes of your day, but the most rewarding for your metabolism.

If you’re worried about your sensitive bladder, pack some Always Discreet pads in your gym bag to absorb any leaks and odours.

Start lifting weights

Alongside cardio, it’s important to include some strength training if you want to ramp up your calorie-burning potential and kick-start your metabolism. Lean muscle mass declines by five per cent per decade after the age of 30, becoming increasingly problematic once we’re in our 50s and post-menopausal, when the body starts to favour storing fat over muscle.

But the more muscle you have, the quicker your metabolism zings, and having a higher muscle mass also reduces your chance of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

Grab some dumbbells and incorporate them into a series of squats, lunges, bent over rows and biceps curls. We promise you won’t end up bulky, just stronger and leaner everywhere.

Keep your portions under control

There’s a lot of confusing information about what and how many times a day you should eat. Some experts argue eating six small meals a day is better for an active metabolism, while others say there are no added benefits to this over three regular meals. So what’s a woman to do?

The most important thing to watch is your total calorie intake, regardless of how many times you eat throughout the day. As we age, the metabolism slows down, meaning the number of calories we need reduces. The best idea is to keep a food diary. Use an easy app such as MyFitnessPal, which will add up the calories, sugar and protein in your food and advise on how much you should be eating.

Pack in the protein

Your body uses significantly more energy processing protein than carbohydrates, so adding more protein to your diet will not only keep you fuller for longer, but you’ll do away with more calories during digestion. Lean turkey, chicken, tofu, eggs and beans are great metabolism-boosting foods. But remember, any excess calories you don’t burn off turn to fat stores on the body – even lean protein. You have been warned!

Hydrate like crazy

Your body needs to be well hydrated to process food, and drinking water stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn sparks your metabolism. Just 500ml of water is enough to boost your metabolism by 30% for a couple of hours, so get into the habit of drinking a glass every time you have a meal or snack (add ice to burn a few extra calories).

Incorporate a cup of green tea into your daily routine, too, as not only will it hydrate you, it will also speed up your metabolism for a few hours. And research has shown that calorie burn is increased if you exercise after drinking green tea.

What are your metabolism-boosting tips? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  • Show comments

Great article

Monika 18/03/2017

It is so good so I've recommended this article to my mum.

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