While it's true that our metabolism naturally slows down as we get older, these tips can help people of all ages and sizes optimize their daily calorie burn.
Aerobic exercise is key!
You probably already know that aerobic exercise (like running, brisk walking, swimming, and bike riding) helps rev up your metabolism and burns calories while you're doing it. But, did you know that aerobic activities also cause your metabolism to stay revved up for a period of time after exercising? With this in mind, aim for 30-plus minutes of cardiovascular activity every day (or at least five days a week).
Strength training revs your engine.
It's true what they say about muscle burning more calories than fat: The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn 24/7 — even when you're sitting still.
Eat at least 1,000 calories each day.
Your body and metabolism thrive on food. When you fast, crash diet, or restrict your intake to 1,000 calories or below, your metabolism will respond by slowing down to conserve energy. Imagine your metabolism as a blazing fire. Feed the fire consistently with wood and it continues to burn at a good rate, but if you run out of wood, the fire goes out. Even when you're cutting calories to lose weight, it's important to feed your fire and keep your metabolism at its optimal level by eating at least 1,000 calories a day.
Include lean protein with every meal.
Eating all types of food creates a thermic effect and will raise metabolism after consumption. However, protein results in a greater metabolic boost than carbohydrates or fats. Plus, eating an appropriate amount of protein will ensure you're able to maintain and build muscle mass (the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism). Make sure to incorporate lean protein into every meal and get the right amount each day. How much do you need? A simple rule of thumb is 50 percent of your ideal body weight in grams. So, for example, if you want to get down to 140 pounds, aim for 70 grams of protein each day. The best protein sources include skinless poultry, fish and seafood, lean meat.