If you have recently gained or lost weight, you might be interested in how your metabolism is working to affect those changes in your body. A lot of factors influence your metabolism, including your age, gender and genetic makeup. Read on to learn more about your metabolism and how it works, plus discover five ways you can increase it.
What is your metabolism?
Your metabolism is the whole range of biochemical reactions that take place inside your body. For these biochemical processes to keep happening, they need energy, and the minimum amount of energy that your body needs to do this work is known as your basal metabolic rate or BMR.
Depending on your lifestyle and your age, this BMR can account for between 40% and 70% of your body’s daily energy requirements. Other things that play a role in your BMR are the amount of muscle and fat your body has – muscle cells need more energy than fat to maintain themselves.
Can I speed up my metabolism?
Although many articles claim particular foods and drinks can increase your metabolism, the scientific evidence to support this is not very strong.
However, the good news is - you can control how many calories your body burns through the amount and intensity of exercise you do. People who believe they have a higher BMR may simply be more active in general.
The five ways you can burn more calories
This kind of exercise raises your heart rate, therefore burning calories and helping your cardiovascular system. That is why it is often referred to as cardio. Aerobic means ‘with oxygen’ so your breathing and heart rate go up during the activities that fall under this category of exercise. These include:
Strength training exercises
As we mentioned, muscle cells use up more energy. So, if you increase your muscle mass, it can aid weight loss. Muscle strengthening exercises can include:
- High intensity workouts
- Body weight exercises
Increasing your activity levels in general
It is recommended that adults undertake two different types of physical exercise a week – one aerobic and one strengthening.
For those aged 19-64 at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity is recommended per week, as well as a strength exercise that works all your body’s major muscles twice a week. Or, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise and the same amount of strengthening.
For more information on exercise and how to make sure your body is as healthy as possible, visit the NHS Live Well Exercise pages.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is important for your body to rest, repair and stay healthy. It has also been found that people who have poor or little sleep are often more prone to weight gain and a higher body mass index (BMI). Poor sleep can also increase your appetite and calorie intake, making it harder for your body to burn off all that excess energy.
Drinking the recommended 2 litres of water each day not only keeps you alert and avoids dehydration, but it can also help you to digest meals better and help your body to break down calories.
Please note that not all conditions discussed above are covered by every CS Healthcare plan. For more information on what is covered please visit our FAQ page or speak to one of our friendly sales advisers on 0800 917 4325†