Metabolic rate is the amount of energy (measured in calories) that a person burns in order to maintain basic bodily functions such as breathing, digestion, and circulation. It is determined by a person's age, gender, size, body composition, genetics, and activity level. Although these biologicals factors cannot be changed, however, there are things one can do that will help improve their metabolic rate while also positively impacting their overall health.
Now that we know what makes up an individual’s metabolism, it’s important to understand how your body burns calories. There are three main ways:
- Basal metabolic rate. BMR is the calories needed to keep your heart pumping, lungs inflating and all your body’s systems functioning. For most people, this accounts for 60-75% of calories burned daily.
- Thermic effect of feeding. Digesting food and requires energy and approximately 10% of calories burned every day is from what you eat and digest.
- Activity. This is the energy burned from exercise and movement. It accounts for 15-30% of your daily caloric burn, depending, of course, on how active you are throughout the day.
Of these different ways to burn calories, you have the most control over your activity, so movement is critical to maintaining a healthy metabolism!
Here are some ways to increase a person's metabolic rate:
- Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity is one of the most effective ways to increase metabolism. Exercise helps to build muscle mass, which in turn increases the number of calories burned at rest.
- Eat More Protein: Eating more protein can help boost metabolism since the body needs to work harder to digest it because it has a high thermic effect of feeding, which means on average, about 25% of the calories you consume from protein will be burned during the digestion and assimilation process. Protein also helps to preserve muscle mass, which is important for keeping metabolic rate high.
- Drink More Water: Staying hydrated is important for overall health and metabolism. Water helps to speed up digestion, which can help to increase metabolism.
- Get Enough Sleep: Getting enough sleep is essential for good health and metabolism. Lack of sleep can lead to hormonal imbalances that can slow down metabolism. When your body is stressed and sleep deprived, it releases the hormone cortisol, which can contribute to a slower metabolism. In addition, when in a state of stress or exhaustion, you may lack the energy or interest for exercising, which lessens the calories burned each day.
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