When it comes to losing weight or maintaining your current weight, your metabolism can influence your results. If you’re concerned about this, it’s helpful to understand exactly what metabolism is. It’s also beneficial to know what can affect it and, if yours might be slower, how to help speed it up.
Metabolism refers to the biochemical processes that the body uses when converting food (calories) into energy to both sustain life and to support physical activity, whether exercise or non-exercise. These processes include:
- Digesting food
- Delivery of nutrients to your cells through the blood
- Use of energy by your muscles, nerves, and cells
- Elimination of waste products from your body
The rate at which you burn calories or energy is called your metabolic rate. This number includes your basal metabolic rate (BMR)—the number of calories needed to support essential functions, like breathing and circulating blood—and calories burned during physical activity.
Your BMR is the most significant component of your metabolic rate, accounting for 60% to 75% of your total calories expended daily.
How to Increase Metabolism for Weight Loss
There are some things that you cannot change about your metabolism. For example, you can’t change your age or sex. But there are some things that you can do to boost your metabolism and lose weight. These include:
- Exercise: You burn more calories when you exercise. Even an easy workout increases your metabolism. Harder and more intense workouts burn more calories.
- Increase your daily movement: No time to exercise? Move more during the day. Simple daily tasks like walking, climbing stairs, gardening, and housework require your body to work harder and burn more calories.
- Add muscle: You can improve your body composition to burn more calories. Do strength training exercises to build muscle, and you can burn more calories all day long, even when your body is resting.
- Eat the right number of calories: Eating too many calories can cause weight gain. Eating too few calories can cause your metabolism to slow down. Make sure you’re eating enough calories to maintain a healthy metabolism.
Your metabolism will change slightly from day to day. If you can learn how to manage and maintain a healthy metabolism on a regular basis, it can be easier to achieve both weight loss and weight maintenance for the long term.