7 daily habits that can help boost your metabolism

To put it simply, metabolism is based on the amount of calories or energy the body burns to perform its regular function, including breathing, blood circulation and cell renewal. A high metabolism rate means that the body can use up more calories faster, and low or sluggish metabolism uses less calories to keep the body moving. “Metabolism is an important aspect of our body and should be understood well, especially since the daily energy expenditure (calories burnt) decreases [to] about 150 calories per decade after the age of 20. The chief cause of this decline is the decrease in muscle mass (which is metabolically active) and increase in fat mass (which is metabolically inactive). While our metabolism rate is a stable, an unstable lifestyle pattern can slow it down. In the same way, good choices can help you rev it up too,” explains Nikhil Kapur, co-founder of Atmantan, a holistic wellness retreat. Here are seven easy tweaks you can do to your daily routine to improve your metabolism.

1) Eat smaller meals

Eating small, nutrient-balanced meals is a sure shot way to boost your fat-burning mechanism. Many try to eat less and keep longer gaps between their meals to restrict calories. This, however, puts the body into a starvation mode, forcing it to save calories by storing fats and burning muscles.

2) Don’t discount sleep

“Studies have shown that sleeping disorders and deprivation reduce your metabolism. Sleeping for four hours or lesser appears to increase hunger and appetite for calorie-dense foods. A good quality sleep for five to seven hours is required, or else it can build up fatigue resulting in less activity which in turns lowers metabolism,” explains Kapur.

3) Focus on building muscle

Adding resistance training helps to improve the metabolic rate, as muscle cells are able to burn faster than fat cells. “If my muscle mass drops by 10 per cent in a year, this will mean a drop in my metabolic rate by 90 cal/day or 32,000 calories in the year,” states Kapur. “Lift weights or use your own body as the weight,” suggests Payal Kothari, integrative nutritionist and gut health coach. “When you tear down the muscle, it costs your body calories till its repair. During rest too. So even at rest your body is active, which promotes metabolism,” she adds.

4) Load up on fibre-rich foods

Eat more greens, beans and legumes, and choose whole grains over refined as often as possible. High fibre food fills you up because they are naturally bulky and cleanse the gut while they’re at it. “Such foods are dense in fibre, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and also take longer to chew and digest. This keeps the mitochondria, which is the energy house of the cell, always active. This is great to rev up metabolism,” says Kothari.

5) Hydrate (and then do it some more)

Drink plenty of water, as fibre works best when it absorbs water. Kothari considers water therapy to be the best to boost metabolism. But how much water is enough? “Each person has their own capacity of consuming water. However, it shouldn’t be less than two litres of water per day for any age group above 15 years,” she answers. Water can help increase your energy expenditure for at least 60 minutes, so the more water you drink, the better your metabolism runs.

6) Practice yoga as often as you can

Kapur points out that the main organ in our body that controls metabolism is the endocrine gland. “The twisting asanas in yoga have a fantastic effect in strengthening the endocrine gland. Breathing techniques like kapalabhati pranayama, oxygenate the whole body which helps in warming and energising it, thereby increasing metabolism,” he says.

7) Indulge in massages

Ayurveda lists a warm sesame oil body massage as one of the sure shot ways to restart your metabolism. Abhyanga or a full body massage with oil is considered as an antidote to fatigue, ageing and weight gain, amongst other medical issues. “It is one of the most effective muscle relaxants. A good massage helps chemical reactions take place naturally which promotes metabolism. It helps remove muscle stress by releasing stress hormones like cortisol and excessive adrenaline, which hinder progress if not used correctly,” Kothari adds.

This article first appeared in Vogue


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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