Let’s be honest — as you get older, your metabolism probably isn’t working quite as fast as it used to, and sitting 10 hours a day in front of a computer is taking its toll.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you just had to practice a few key habits each day to feel better and kick start your metabolism? Wish granted! Here are seven scientifically-backed ways to increase your metabolism and get things moving again.
1. If you like coffee, enjoy a cup in the morning.
In one study, researchers wanted to see what effect drinking coffee would have on average and overweight people.
In the study, the researchers had people consume coffee with a meal and found that the thermic effect of the meal (the increase in metabolic rate that occurs after eating) increased dramatically when taken with coffee — including fat oxidation. Not only was there a bump in metabolic rate, there was a bump in fat burning too.
2. Start toning up.
Another study took men between the ages of 50 and 65 and had them follow a strength-training routine for 16 weeks. After the researchers had finished the experiment, they measured the changes in physiology of the participants.
What they found was that people undergoing this workout schedule had a highers resting metabolic rate than before. So just by increasing the muscle mass, these men experienced a permanent increase in their metabolic rate.
3. Eat more kelp.
This study took 36 people with normally functioning thyroids and they gave them one of three treatments:
The goal was to see what would happen to the functioning of key thyroid hormones.
Even though the kelp didn’t actually change metabolism here, the group that got the highest dosages of kelp showed a significant increase in thyroid stimulating hormone.
4. Make sure you have enough protein in your diet.
The thermic effect of food is the energy your body uses to eat, digest and then metabolize food. What’s interesting about the thermic effect is that it varies based on the macronutrients you consume (as well as others factors). For example, one study gave women a meal that had three different compositions: 68% of energy in the meal from protein, fat, or carbs. From there, researchers wanted to see the thermic effect based on what the women ate for each meal.
What they found was that protein exerted a thermic effect three times as large as carbs or fats — so not only was it using much more of the body’s resources, but it also helped the participants stay fuller, longer.
What’s that mean for you? Make sure you have a solid protein-based meal (or meals) throughout the day. It requires more energy to digest, and it also helps you stay fuller, longer.
5. Spice up your foods.
One study conducted with 10 Thai women sought to evaluate the effects of fresh chili pepper on glucose response and metabolic rate.
Within a few minutes of consuming fresh chili pepper, metabolic rate increased by 20% and stayed elevated. In this study, the chili peppers actually increased metabolic rate for up to 30 minutes after eating!
6. Make sure you're eating enough calories.
It sounds logical: Want to lose weight? Eat less, move more. Except, at a certain point, it stops working.
One study wanted to examine the effects of a low-calorie diet on resting metabolic rate and the thyroid hormone, T3, levels in obese kids.
The children in the study had a BMI of an average of 29, and they were measured in a 6-week study after undergoing dietary changes.
The weight loss in the study actually resulted in a 10 percent decline in resting metabolic rate. So the less these children ate, and the more weight they lost, the lower their metabolism became.
7. Take advantage of the “afterburn effect."
Let’s be honest, no one really wants to spend hours in the gym. So how do you really do less, but see better results?
Use something called the “afterburn effect.”
The afterburn effect really just stands for EPOC – exercise post oxygen consumption – which is an increase in oxygen intake after exercise. The harder the workout, the more calories will be burned after too (and not just during the workout).
One study wanted to see just how long the effect would last, and conducted tests for 48 hours after the conclusion of the exercise and found measurable effects existed up to 38 hours post-exercise. So what does that mean for you? Slightly increasing the intensity of your exercise (while doing shorter workouts), is a way to get a greater "bang for your buck" while making it easier for your body to recover.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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