One of the most frustrating things about getting older is that the metabolism slows down. If you’re struggling to lose weight and build muscle, or if you just want to maintain a healthy weight, you might be wondering how to boost your metabolism after 40. Don’t worry – here are some simple changes you can make to help your metabolism and stay healthy without having to work out for hours a day!
Let’s go over some key concepts first.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a chemical process that defines how well the human body carries out its activities. It is the term that refers to the system of how the body uses energy to execute tasks, keeping the body and mind in check.
The importance of a good metabolism cannot be overemphasized as it is in charge of every activity in the body including breathing, food digestion and cell repair. To perform these activities, energy is expended. The amount of energy that your body requires to carry out the activities is referred to as the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). That is, the BMR refers to the minimum amount of energy required to keep your body running even while at rest. At every point time, there is an internal process happening in the body, from the beating of the heart to the digestion of a meal. Depending on the lifestyle you lead and your age, your BMR may account for as much as 80% of the energy that your body may use in a single day.
What are the benefits of an increased metabolism?
Seeing that metabolism is the rate at which your body torches internal calories to generate energy, you can easily see how increased metabolism equates to:
More energy to use
Metabolism is responsible for how much energy you have at your disposal while performing your daily tasks. When you have more energy, you can achieve intentional milestones you set and even unintentional ones may come as a bonus. You’ll improve your immune system, burn unnecessary fat, lose bodyweight, achieve hormonal balance, and feel more fit. All of these are a result of your body having more energy to carry out tasks.
A more active body system
When you have more energy, you can do more – this is an unofficial law of nature. All bodily functions are carried out more easily seeing as most of them, if not all, involve the movement of body organs. Take digestion, for instance, your body has enough energy to move food around the body with ease and in time.
Why do people have different metabolisms?
The metabolisms of our respective bodies are different by default and there are some reasons for this. These factors include:
People with muscle are more likely to have a faster metabolism than those that don’t. This is because the body requires more energy to maintain muscle cells than fat cells. Diet comes into play here, as it can affect the amount of fat a person has. As a result, people with more muscle have their bodies constantly working to generate more energy and hence faster metabolism.
Metabolism tends to decrease with age. As we grow older, we tend to lose muscle and gain fat. This is why exercise plays a more important role in older people. As mentioned, muscle cells consume more energy than fat cells. That is why it is imperative that men and women over 40 are physically active and have some type of consistent exercise regimen.
Over average, men have a faster metabolism than women of the same age. Men generally have more muscle mass, less fat, and heavier bones than women. These three factors in addition to hormonal differences are key factors. Connect the dots and you’ll see why a man of particular body size and age would generally have a faster metabolism than a woman of the same body size and age.
Certain studies have shown that your metabolism may be influenced by your genetic makeup.
However, there are several epigenetic factors such as diet and exercise that can help improve a sluggish metabolism.
Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and nutrient deficiencies can cause a slower metabolism.
Here are ways you can increase your metabolism
Dehydration causes your metabolism to slow down. Therefore, it is important to stay well hydrated. People who drink water rather than sweetened drinks such as fruit juices and sodas are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off.
Eat complex carbohydrates
Whole grain complex carbohydrates such as oats, parboiled rice or brown rice, quinoa, millets and wheat berries are an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, fiber and trace minerals. They are also helpful in improving your metabolism.
Pro-tip #1: You can cool your cooked grains and then reheat later. This will increase the amount of resistant starch which is important for colon health
Pro-tip #2: Cooked pasta acts like a whole grain
Increase Your Workout Intensity
Increasing your workout intensity by including short high intensity intervals will improve your metabolism and help you burn more fat.
Irrespective of your age, exercise has a way of jumpstarting the body to be more active. Interval training along with aerobic activity and resistance training will boost your metabolism.
Do strength training
Strength training or resistance is important for a healthy metabolism. Muscles bum more calories than fat and can use both glucose and fatty acids as fuel. Increasing muscle mass will help you reduce excess body fat. Make it a point to do muscle strengthening activities a few times a week. Focus on major muscle groups in your leg, hip, back, arms, chest and core.
Don’t sit for too long
If you have a sedentary job make it a point to get up from your desk at least once an hour. Sitting too long is linked to poor health outcomes. Stand up, go for a brief walk or invest in a standing desk
Try to keep try stress level low
Having lower stress levels will reduce your cortisol levels. High cortisol levels can lead to weight gain, high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. Make it a point to do something that will help you destress. Good options include a walk in nature, reading a good book, talking with a friend, gentle stretching, yoga and meditation.
Sleep is crucial for good health and the lack of proper sleep is linked to chronic health disease. Don’t cut your sleep short. The popular saying, “anything worth doing at all is worth doing well” applies to sleep also. As an adult, you’re expected to sleep for seven or more hours every night.