Metabolism is the process by which your body burns energy (calories) to sustain itself. In this process, the body breaks the food to give out energy. It consists of two processes:-
1. Anabolism (formation)
2. Catabolism (break down)
No matter what, calories are continuously burned by your body to keep you working. It is if you are playing, working, eating, or even sleeping. But the amount of calories burned while doing these activities differ widely.
Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) - this is the total amount of calories burnt by an individual throughout the day.
It Includes - Basal metabolic rate (BMR), thermic effect of food and physical activity.
Now let us understand what is BMR (basal metabolic rate)?
The basal metabolic rate is the lowest rate at which the body expends energy at complete rest. It is the biggest component of the total energy expenditure. It amounts to 60-70 % of TEE.
We can raise, maintain or drop down BMR with the kind of lifestyle we have.
1. Physical Activity
A. Do strength training activities
Working out with weights help to improve strength. It helps in increasing muscle mass of the body. Muscle mass is a metabolically active tissue and thus aids in raising metabolism. You can also do squats, crunches, lunges etc. without external weights as these exercises may also help in improving your metabolism.
B. Include aerobic activities as well
Doing cardio exercises on a regular basis may also aid in boosting your metabolism. It may be short duration of high intensity activities or 150 minutes of moderate intensity activities in a week such as walking/cycling/swimming etc.
2. Food Habits and Nutrition
A. Increase protein intake if it’s low
Proteins are very important component of your diet. Especially if you are looking out to raise your metabolism. Proteins take more time and energy to digest than other major nutrients such as carbs and fats. Thus more calories are burned when to consume protein rich foods. Hence include moderate amount of good quality proteins in the diet such as eggs, soya, lean meats, low fat milk and milk products, sprouts etc.
B. Include enough carbs
All carbs are not bad. Hence don’t get scared of them. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain cereals, whole fruits and vegetable etc. which contain good amount of fiber are healthy. Body needs to work hard to digest them and thus help in supplying steady flow of sugar into the blood and also burns calories during this process.
C. The Good Fats
Yes, there are ‘good’ type of fats as well. These are healthy fats found in oily fishes, nuts and oilseeds, oils used for cooking (use a variety of these, but judiciously). Fats/lipids in the body form a major part of your brain and central nervous system. Not only that, but they help in the formation of hormones and wear and tear of cell membranes in your body. The healthy fats in food help in production of these hormones, brain cells and maintenance of the cell membranes. For all these above processes calories are required and hence healthy fats support metabolism.
D. Have small and frequent meals
Smaller, more frequent meals aid in keeping your blood sugar levels well balanced and offers a stable source of energy to keep up your metabolism.
E. Breakfast is a must
Breakfast means ‘breaking the fast’ in the morning which helps the metabolism to rev up. Breakfast literally refuels you with the required calories and nutrients and you get charged up to face the entire day. By raising ones metabolism it also helps indirectly to manage weight better.
F. Avoid Sedentary Lifestyle
Be as active as possible throughout the day. Every step of yours count when raising metabolism is concerned. A five minute quick walk during office time or before going for that afternoon nap will definitely help. Get down from your car and walk the last two minutes to reach your destination. Go out and play with your kids/friends on the weekend. If you love dancing, play your favorite song and groove to the music.
G. Avoid Starving yourself
In the bargain of losing weight, do not decrease your calorie intake to a very low level. Decreasing the calorie intake lower than 1000 kcals a day is not recommended. This may lead to pushing your body into ‘starvation’ mode which slows down your metabolism in order to conserve calories to maintain and continue various functions of the body.
3. Drink Water
Drink loads of water throughout the day. You must have read it before. Water is required for the process of metabolism to work effectively.
4. Getting good quality sleep
Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders affect in metabolic dysregulation. It causes certain hormones increased or decreased secretion duet to which metabolism may slow down. Experts suggest a good night’s sleep helps in making best use of your metabolic power.