As you get older, your body inevitably changes, and that includes the speed of your metabolism (the rate at which we burn calories). But just because this happens doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Nutritionists believe that there are small (and big) changes women over 50 can make to speed up their metabolism, even if it’s been slowing down for many years. In fact, a lot of little things can affect its speed, from the food you eat to the way you exercise. Luckily, no matter how much your metabolism has slowed over the years, you can begin to turn that around today. Here are seven tips to rev it up:
Eat At Small, Regular Intervals. Instead of eating three large meals per day, try to eat small meals every three hours. This way, you can keep your metabolism going at a steady rate. Research shows that people who snack regularly are also less hungry at mealtime, so they are less likely to overeat. If you’re going to eat a big meal, try to do it earlier in the day – starting the day with a big breakfast is far better than ending the day with a large dinner.
Make Sure Not To Eat Too Little. You may think you are doing your metabolism a favor by lowering your total caloric intake, but it turns out that your body needs a certain amount of calories to keep burning them at an optimal rate. When you diet, you not only lose fat, but also muscle – and muscle is one of the main driving forces behind a speedy metabolism. One study showed that restricting food actually suppresses your metabolism by as much as 20 percent.
Exercise With Cardio And Weight Lifting. In order to keep your metabolism going at a fast rate, you need to incorporate both cardio and weight lifting into your exercise routine. Cardio speeds up your heart rate and makes you sweat, which is essential for your metabolism, and muscle building is just as important. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Try taking just 15-20 minutes to lift weights about three times per week, and you may be surprised at how effective strength training is.
Vary The Intensity And Duration Of Your Workouts. If you do the same thing every time you go to the gym, your body is at risk of not working hard enough. You may get bored and overly comfortable with your routine. Try to mix it up with a variety of exercise classes and activities, such as cycling, Zumba, yoga, and speed walking. The key is to keep challenging yourself so that you’ll increase the number of calories you burn. You can also play around with the duration of your workouts – maybe one day you’ll do an hour-long dance class, and the next day just 20 minutes of jogging.
Eat Protein. Focus on eating protein over carbohydrates and fats. Research shows that protein helps you build muscle more easily by making your body work harder as it digests, thus increasing your metabolism. To avoid going overboard, focus on lean and low-fat protein options like turkey, fish, chicken, beans, and tofu.
Drink Your Water. According to one study, people who drink at least eight glasses of water per day burned more calories than those who drink four. Your body needs water to burn calories, and drinking enough water can increase the speed of your metabolism, helping you burn up to 50 more calories each day. Research also shows that drinking one or two glasses of water before meals helps you eat less and feel more satiated.
Go Spicy. Spicy foods contain chemical compounds that can temporarily rev up your metabolism, such as the capsaicin found in chili peppers. It’s easy to add red pepper flakes to dishes like pasta, soup, and casseroles. Though the effect doesn’t last long, adding spice to your meals regularly can certainly add up over time.