Losing weight can be challenging for many, and this becomes more true as we get older. As we age, metabolism slows down, which makes it easier to put on a few pounds here or there, and much harder to lose them. With the natural loss of muscle mass, the tendency to slow down as the years go by, and a diet that may not be the most health-conscious, it can be challenging to stay in shape.
However, speeding up your metabolism increases the number of calories your body burns while at rest and while moving, which can lead to weight loss. Changing up your diet, exercising more often and more efficiently, and leading a healthier lifestyle, you can speed up your metabolism and make it easier to keep those pesky extra pounds away.
Whether you live on your own, with your family, or in assisted or independent living, there are several steps you can take to help speed up your metabolism and live a healthier life. And that’s one of the best choices you can make!
What Does Metabolism Do?
Simply put: metabolism is the process where your body converts food and drink into energy. It’s commonly mistaken that your metabolism really only kicks in when exercising, but this isn’t true; even at rest, your body is naturally burning calories and turning them into energy.
Things like breathing, your heart pumping, your brain working, regulating temperature, or healing a bruise all need a level of energy to be performed. Think about it like your body is maintaining itself—this is called your “basal metabolic rate.”
The speed of your metabolism is determined by several influential factors. These include:
- Muscle mass
- Family genes
- Activity level
There are some environmental factors that can affect your metabolism as well. Substance usage, extreme heat or cold, and your diet play heavily into how quickly or slowly your metabolism works! As you get older, your metabolism tends to slow down, so making a conscious effort to control your diet and exercise more can contribute a great deal to your metabolic rate.
How You Can Speed Up Your Metabolism
When you eat food or drink water, your metabolism speeds up to begin turning the food into energy. Your body needs more calories to absorb and process the nutrients you’re taking in, so the metabolism adjusts to do this.
When your metabolism is quicker, you naturally burn more calories when at rest and when exercising, which makes it easier to lose weight. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to speed it up!
Eat More Protein
One of the easier changes to make to speed up your metabolism is to eat more protein. Protein needs much more energy to digest and process than most other nutrients.
As you get older, it’s common to lose some of your muscle mass, and protein helps quite a bit with retaining muscle. While eating more protein won’t single-handedly make you lose weight and gain muscle, it plays a big part in both!
It’s never a bad idea to drink a little more water every day. But did you know it can help speed up the metabolism and help with weight loss?
The brain often misinterprets thirst for hunger. By drinking more water, especially when hungry, you’re actually decreasing how much you’ll be eating since you’ll feel less hungry throughout the day.
In fact, in a study done in 2016, it was found that drinking water about half an hour before a meal leads to eating about 22% less.
Exercise is always one of the best ways to lose some weight, build muscle mass, and speed up your metabolism. Muscle burns calories naturally even when at rest due to your metabolism, so when you increase your muscle mass, you’re actually increasing your metabolic rate!
And since sitting or lying down burns fewer calories than when you’re moving, it works as a double whammy of sorts. Moving more means your metabolism works harder and faster, which leads to burning more calories even when resting.
It’s important to note, though, that it’s possible to overdo it on the exercise. You can always speak with your doctor (or the team around you if you’re in assisted or independent living) to make sure that you’re exercising safely. There is such a thing as too much exercise, especially if you’re over the age of 60! Make sure you’re exercising safely.
Is it Easy to Speed Up Your Metabolism?
At the end of the day, it’s never easy to drastically change your lifestyle. But by eating the right foods, drinking more water, and exercising more, you’ll be able to speed up your metabolism and help keep those extra few pounds away.
It’s important to remember, though, that there isn’t a magic pill that changes your metabolism, no matter what advertisements may pop up! Focusing on your diet and exercising more is the most efficient way to speed up your metabolism, and they’re easy to do at home, so it’s best to stick to those.
Health-Conscious Senior Living
Whether you live at home, with family, or in assisted or independent living, you can take active steps to speed up your metabolism and help live a healthier lifestyle. If you’d like to learn more about how assisted living contributes to living a healthy life, contact us here at The Villages at River Club or schedule a tour today!