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Managing weight

Managing weight

October 17, 2018

Burn calories all day by increasing your metabolism

Image credit: iStock/Plateresca

We all know that exercising burns calories, as your body requires more energy to match the intensity of your workout. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t using up fuel throughout the rest of your day. You need energy to do everything, from walking to eating and even sleeping. The rate at which your body burns calories in order to function is what’s known as your metabolism.

Everyone’s metabolism is slightly different. This is part of the reason why some people have larger appetites than others; if they have a faster metabolism, their body might be telling them they need more calories, leading to them being hungrier. So what does this mean if you’re trying to lose weight?

Well, if you can increase your metabolism, it means your body will burn more calories at rest, boosting your ability to lose weight. This isn’t going to be enough on its own – you will still need to exercise and eat healthily – but it can serve as a good boost to your fitness efforts.

So, how do you go about increasing your metabolism? As with a lot of things in life, in order to see big changes, you will need to put in a lot of effort. We’ve separated your options into easy, medium and hard methods to speed up the rate you burn calories, so you can decide which is right for you and your schedule.

 

Easy

Some things speed up your metabolism with barely any effort whatsoever. For example, green and oolong teas are thought to do so, as well as black coffee and spicy food. Swapping your soda for a hot drink and your casserole for a curry could be a simple way of losing a bit more weight.

A high-protein diet also increases your metabolism, as protein requires more effort from your body to digest than carbs or fat. It also helps you maintain muscle mass, which is important for reasons we’ll go into later. Making these changes to your diet requires little effort, but won’t have that impressive an effect. For more significant metabolism boosts, why don’t you try…

 

Medium

One of the main reasons most people’s metabolisms are fairly slow is the sheer amount of time we spend sitting down nowadays. A huge number of jobs involve working in front of a computer, and while we’re sedentary, our bodies are basically at rest. This means we’re expending very little energy.

Standing up while you work could be the answer. This is why many people are investing in standing desks, so they can avoid the long periods of sitting that slow your metabolism to a crawl.

Another option could be to make yourself cold. Your body burns calories to warm itself up, so going for a walk in winter, taking a cold shower or drinking ice water can all speed up your metabolism. Combining these with exercise can be a great way to boost your calorie-burning workout.

 

Hard

If you really want to see your metabolism increase, then you’ll have to put the work in. One of the simplest things to improve is your activity level. The more active you are, the more calories you’ll burn, so you should look for ways to keep yourself moving. For example, could you walk instead of driving to work?

Building muscle is also a good idea. Muscle requires more energy to maintain than fat, so if you focus on strength training then you’ll find yourself needing more calories as you improve. This is probably the most reliable way to increase your metabolism, but it requires a lot of hard work to achieve.

 

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