Metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body. These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning. However, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn.The higher it is, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off. Having a high metabolism can also give you energy and make you feel better.
Here are 10 easy ways to increase your metabolism.
- Eat plenty of protein at every meal. Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal. Protein causes the largest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats (1). Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating. Eating more protein can also reduce the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat. This is because it reduces muscle loss, which is a common side effect of dieting.
- Drink more cold water. People who drink water instead of sugary drinks are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off. This is because sugary drinks contain calories, so replacing them with water automatically reduces your calorie intake. However, drinking water may also temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 liters) of water increases resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour*. Water can also help fill you up. Studies show that drinking water a half an hour before you eat can help you eat less.
- Do a High-Intensity Workout. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick and very intense bursts of activity. It can help you burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate, even after your workout has finished. This effect is believed to be greater for HIIT than for other types of exercise. What’s more, HIIT has also been shown to help you burn fat.
- Lift heavy things. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, and building muscle can help increase your metabolism. This means you will burn more calories each day, even at rest. Lifting weights will also help you retain muscle and combat the drop in metabolism that can occur during weight loss.
- Stand up more. Sitting too much is bad for your health. Some health commentators have even dubbed it “the new smoking.” This is partly because long periods of sitting burn fewer calories and can lead to weight gain. In fact, compared to sitting, an afternoon of standing up at work can burn an extra 174 calories. If you have a desk job, try standing up for short periods to break up the length of time you spend sitting down. You can also invest in a standing desk.