As we get older, it can be harder to keep that metabolism humming and maintain a healthy weight. It’s an unfortunate fact that metabolisms slow as the years go by, making it harder to peel off those pounds or bounce back after a binge.
So what is metabolism, exactly, and why is it wreaking havoc with your waistline now? In its simplest form, your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories from food you consume. Many factors play into how fast or slow your metabolic rate is, including sex, height, weight, lifestyle, and, yes, age. Having a faster metabolism will help you lose weight more easily.
Thankfully, there are ways to combat your slowed metabolism which will also improve your health at the same time. Just because you’re aged, like a fine wine, doesn’t mean you can’t be happy in your own skin. Here are some things to try.
Don’t skip meals
You might think that skipping breakfast, or blowing past lunch for an early dinner, will help you lose weight. After all, you’re eating less food, right? Unfortunately, your body won’t see it that way. Instead, your metabolism will slow down to compensate for the loss of nutrition. Ideally, you should aim for four to six small meals per day to keep your metabolism burning at an optimal rate.
Make those meals count
When you do sit down to eat, make sure you are getting proper nutrition in order to maintain a healthy weight. You’ve heard it all before, but it remains true, and your best bet is a diet with a healthy mix of produce, whole grains, and lean protein. Swap fatty cuts of beef for lean turkey or chicken breast, pile vegetables on your pizza instead of extra cheese or greasy meats, and try whole-wheat pasta instead of nutrient-poor white. Making simple swaps like these will help rev your metabolism while still enjoying foods that you love.
Good ideas for healthy snacks include:
- Low-fat string cheese
- Greek yogurt and berries
- Dark chocolate
- Cottage cheese mixed with fresh fruit
- Pita bread and hummus
- Apples and almond butter
Dehydration can also slow your metabolism, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout your day. Otherwise, your liver will focus on water retention instead of burning that fat. Sip water throughout the day, flavoring it with a lemon or lime wedge if you’d like to add some pizazz. You can also drink unsweetened iced tea or even seltzer, but avoid sugary and highly caloric sodas and fruit juices, if possible.
Work it out
Exercise is important in all stages of life, and it’s essential to find something you love and will stick with in order to reap its benefits. This doesn’t mean that you have to join the CrossFit craze or take on any activities that could cause injuries. Some people will suggest “age appropriate,” low- or no-impact activities to protect your joints while boosting your metabolism. Really, though, choose an activity that you deem appropriate and makes you feel good! Some ideas include walking, swimming, or Zumba. Regular exercise will strengthen your heart and lungs while helping you lose weight. Plus, it’s fun to do with a friend. Even senior living communities are offering effective and fun ways to stay active with age! Making your workouts fun or including friends is excellent motivation.
Build some muscle
Did you know that muscle burns more calories than fat? Strengthening your muscles will not only give you some definition and strength, it will also increase your metabolism. There’s no need to use those intimidating machines at the gym if you aren’t comfortable doing so; you can strengthen your muscles in your own home with a pair of hand weights. Try some simple moves like biceps curls, triceps kickbacks, or shoulder presses.
You can even tone up by using your own body weight with moves like squats—just pretend you are going to sit in a chair, and then stand up again. Your body will reap the benefit long after your workout is over by continuing to burn calories at a higher rate throughout the day.
Try these simple but effective ways to safely boost your metabolism. You will feel great, look even better and have tons of energy to do the things you love.