Your body’s metabolism is all of the chemical reactions that take place every day to keep you alive — it is our body’s process of turning calories we consume into usable energy. While a strong metabolism is typically associated with being incredibly in shape and toned, it also is beneficial for our immune function, lower rates of diseases, fertility and healthy sex drive, lean muscle mass, brain function, longevity, and energy.
Unfortunately, your body’s metabolism naturally slows steadily after age 40… so if you’ve reached that lovely number, you need to proactively add metabolism boosters into your day-to-day life. Other indicators that you need to boost your metabolism are:
- ongoing fatigue
- frequently feeling cold
- thinning hair
- dry skin
- low libido
- struggling to lose weight
- low energy levels
- irregular periods
- trouble sleeping through the night
- getting sick often
- trouble concentrating
- irregular bowel movements
- mood disorders such as anxiety or depression
If you can relate to any of the above symptoms, it’s time to start boosting your metabolism. Here are 5 practical metabolism boosters to start using NOW:
1. Get plenty of sleep. Research shows a strong correlation between a properly functioning metabolism and getting enough sleep and rest. If you’re constantly “running on fumes,” your body is working too hard to conserve energy. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night in order to keep your hormone levels stable and your metabolism working as it should.
2. Try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). All exercise is important for boosting metabolic function as you age. High Intensity Interval Training is a type of exercise that uses intervals varying in intensity — one minute you’re giving your all out, max effort — the next minute you’re taking a rest. This type of exercise can jump-start metabolic function better than steady-state workouts, and it even helps your body continue to burn calories long after you’re leaving the gym.
3. Avoid inflammatory foods. Certain foods slow down the digestive process, in turn, decreasing your metabolism. These processed and inflammatory foods are often the culprits for weight gain, hormone imbalance, fatigue, and more. Try avoiding sugary drinks, processed foods, refined vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, and low-quality dairy and animal products — all of which are linked to inflammation.
4. Lift weights. Lifting weights can help boost your basal metabolic rate because it builds lean muscle mass, which uses more calories than body fat does. Practice resistance training regularly, whether that means lifting weights in your garage, joining a CrossFit box, using dumbbells at the YMCA, or doing resistance training in your living room — make it happen!
5. Add metabolism boosting foods to your diet. Certain foods help the body use and expend energy more efficiently. Eating enough protein is associated with a strong metabolism, as well as consuming some spicy foods and caffeine (in moderation).