Metabolism is a broad term covering all chemical reactions in the body that keep it alive and functioning. However, this term is often used interchangeably with metabolic rate. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn during a day and the easier it is to shed pounds and keep them off.
Of course, there are things about metabolism you can’t change, such as age, gender and medical history. But this doesn’t mean you can’t speed it up at all. In fact, you just need to make a few changes to your daily habits to boost your metabolism all day long. Here are 6 ways to make these changes simpler.
- When you first wake up. Start your day with a morning stretch to burn extra calories. Doing compound movements – any movement that involves the use of more than one muscle group – can increase metabolism. So, making the bed, choosing the clothes to wear during your day, making breakfast, squatting down to pick things up – all promote healthy movements and help burn a few extra calories.
- Eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast has no impact on metabolism. Study shows that there is no difference in calories burned over 24 hours between people who eat or skip breakfast. However, if you don’t eat breakfast, you may be more likely to eat low-nutrient, high-calories foods out of hunger later in the day. Moreover, eating breakfast within one hour of waking up initiates the metabolic process of digesting and transporting food. Choose foods high in protein and fiber, like omelet and cereals, for breakfast to jumpstart your metabolism and ward off hunger pangs throughout the day.
- During your commute. Parking your car farther away from the office, getting off the bus one stop early and taking steps to get to your floor will force you to move more. The heart rate elevated for a short period of time keeps elevated afterward, which increases metabolism overall. A good reason to exercise!
- At work. If you have a desk job and spend most of your day at the office, you may not burn enough calories. Study finds that long periods of sitting raise the risk of multitude health problems. Sedentary working practices have even been called ‘the new smoking”, but to quit smoking at work is easier than you think. Simply schedule mini-activity breaks throughout your day so that you have to get out of your chair and move. For example, break up your day by getting up to make copies at one point, then delivering a package to a coworker later, rather than saving both tasks for the same trip. You can also stand while taking phone calls or use a bathroom located on a different floor of your office. Once you stand up, all the postural muscles fire up and begin to suck up sugar and fat from the bloodstream to keep them going.
- At home. Although household chores, such as housecleaning, raking leaves in the garden or simply putting away groceries, are known to burn calories, take a minute to relax. Why? Because chronic stress disrupts metabolic and hormonal processes and can lead to obesity. When under stress, the body releases cortisol and other appetite-related hormones, which slow down metabolism and increase sugar cravings. To prevent this, do whatever relaxes you most, from talking to a soothing friend or reading a book, to breathing exercises and meditation.
- At bed time. Your body needs a good night’s sleep to fully restore and recover from the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolism could pay the price decreasing the number of calories you burn, changing the way you process sugar and disrupting your appetite-regulating hormones. Moreover, after a bad night’s sleep you feel tired and less motivated to exercise or opt for the stairs over the elevator. That’s why it’s important to improve sleep habits aiming for 7-8 hours a night to keep your metabolism high.