Our metabolism converts calories in our food into energy that is needed by the body to carry out tasks, such as pumping oxygen to the muscles. Many different things contribute to shaping our metabolism, including genes, gender and age. However, there are ways we can increase our metabolism, for example, by following the advice below.
Do more exercise
When you walk, run or lift weights, you increase the amount of energy needed by the body, and this then increases your metabolism for a couple of hours afterward. Though it isn’t a large increase, it makes a difference.
When you work out with weights, the muscular tissue is under stress. It then repairs itself, which speeds up the metabolism. A woman who exercises with weights at least three times a week over the course of six weeks can accumulate enough muscle to burn between 10 and 32 extra calories per day.
Use portion control
This helps to make sure that we don’t overload our metabolism with excess energy we can’t use immediately. Use a scale or cups to measure your food so you can make sure you are getting the right portion sizes for your body weight. Or you could use your hand as a guide. A portion of fruit is around the same size as your fist, a portion of grains or cereal is about a handful, and a portion of green leafy vegetables is around two handfuls. A portion of meat is around the size of your palm.
Eat small meals frequently
Some experts recommend eating small, frequent meals during the day. Increasing the amount of meals you eat, and reducing the portion size of each meal helps to balance blood sugar levels instead of producing three large peaks, which is what happens when we eat three large meals. The first thing to do is determine the amount of calories that you need each day, and then keep this figure in mind when measuring portions. This will help you make the transition from three large meals to five smaller ones.
Laugh a lot!
Laughing also speeds up the metabolism. Researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, carried out a study on metabolism and laughter. They put people into a “metabolic chamber” (a small room that measures the production of heat in order to measure a person’s metabolic rate). They then showed them funny videos. The subjects burned around 10 to 40 calories more than they would normally. It’s a small increase, but each calorie counts for people who want to lose weight and speed up their metabolism.
Image courtesy of Seelensturm.