Last week we presented some of the top myths and misconceptions about diet and weight loss that can hinder healthy habits, and in some cases can even slow down your progress and metabolism. Our metabolism’s main contribution to the body is turning food into energy; having a slow metabolism can lead to weight gain among other issues we’ll list below. Metabolism, like anything within the body, adapts to the lifestyle we live. This means you can speed up and slow down your metabolism based on your health and fitness habits. Keep reading for signs of a slow metabolism, and tips to increase it!
Signs of a slow metabolism.
Weight gain – Generally diet and exercise, or lack thereof, will be the main contributors to weight gain, or trouble losing weight, however other contributors include a slow metabolism, which can cause your body to use less calories for energy and store more as fat.
Fatigue – Often those with a slow metabolism will experience chronic fatigue, this is the result of the body taking longer to turn food into energy.
Inability to concentrate – Trouble concentrating can be another sign of a slow metabolism. This is due to the body getting less nutrients, affecting the way our body can support various mental processes.
Factors that contribute to a slow metabolism.
Prolonged caloric deficit – Being in a calorie deficit, consuming less calories than you burn, for longer than 16 weeks can cause our metabolism to slow as the body adapts to what it understands is the new caloric intake.
Exercise levels – Low exercise levels can decrease your metabolic rate as the body requires less energy.
Thyroid conditions – Thyroid hormones directly impact functions such as how fast you burn calories. Conditions such as Hypothyroidism can impact your metabolism and can cause unexplained weight gain.
Age – As we age our hormones change, and metabolism can slow.
Chronic high stress – Stress causes the body to release a hormone called cortisol, which sends the body into fight-or-flight and slows unnecessary functions for survival such as metabolism. The stress response also increases insulin levels, which then decreases blood sugar levels, causing you to crave foods high in fat and sugar.
Tips to increase your metabolism.
Reverse diets – Being in a prolonged calorie deficit often needs to be reversed, this is done by slowly increasing your calories weekly while exercising the same amount if not more. We recommend getting help from a nutrition professional to ensure this is done properly.
Strength Training – Strength training leads to building more muscle mass which requires more energy to sustain. The more energy your body requires, the faster your metabolism will have to be! Strength training is especially important as you age to help combat the changes to hormone levels, bone density and more. (Remember that building muscle does not mean you have to get BIG.)
Hydration – Staying hydrated by drinking water can help to increase and sustain your metabolism. Research shows men should be consuming 3-4L and women 2-3L, however this may vary.
Sleep 7-9 hours – Sleep is the body’s most effective recovery tool. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep nightly can help reduce stress and cortisol levels, repair damaged tissue, improve immune function, and so much more! This can allow your metabolism to work efficiently, instead of being slowed by the body to use energy for other physiological functions.
If you are concerned you may have hormonal or medical issues effecting your metabolism, contact a medical professional.
If you have questions or want more tips on improving your metabolism, contact one of our Health & Fitness professionals today at firstname.lastname@example.org