Weekly Wellness: Bad Habits that Affect Metabolism
COLUMBIA- The aging process. We need readers. We don’t recover from injuries or illness as quickly. We may look at your cross-eyed if you suggest going out later than 8pm (or, at least, I will). The other cruel experience of the aging process is the slowing of our metabolism. Dang it.
According to research published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, researchers found simply getting older is associated with progressive declines in basal metabolic rate. On top of that, there are many daily habits that can drain your metabolism even further. So let’s try not to make it worse, huh?
Here are the bad habits that can slow your metabolism:
1. Skipping breakfast. Your metabolism slows down during sleep. So eating can fire it up and help you burn more calories throughout the day. According to Rush University Medical Center, “When you eat breakfast, you’re telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be had for the day. When you skip breakfast, the message your body gets is that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.”
2. Choosing the wrong breakfast. So we’re going to eat breakfast – great! Now we need to make sure you eat the right thing. Avoid sugary carbs (which will cause a crash later and not sustain you) and choose protein and fiber (i.e. eggs, yogurt and berries or whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter) which will stay with you and leave you feeling satiated.
3. Sitting too much. Sitting in the car to the office. Sitting at the office. Sitting at lunch. Sitting at the office. Sitting in the car going home. Sitting at the dinner table. Sitting on the couch to watch your shows. Whoa! That’s a LOT of sitting. Sitting for extended periods puts your body into energy-conservation mode, which means your metabolism can suffer. According to the UK’s National Health Service, “Sitting for long periods is thought to slow metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.”
4. Not strength training. Cardio exercise can burn calories, but once you’re done running or cycling, your calorie burn quickly returns to normal. When you do HIIT and resistance-based workouts, your calorie burn stays elevated for longer as your muscles repair themselves. Per the American Council on Exercise (ACE): “Strength training is a key component of metabolism because it is directly linked to muscle mass. The more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate.” And, according to ACE, a pound of muscle burns an additional 4–6 calories each day compared to a pound of fat.
5. Not getting enough protein. Protein feeds your muscles, promotes satiety and is an important component to sustaining a healthy weight. We need protein to have muscle. Also, protein requires more energy to break down than carbs or fat, so you’ll actually burn more calories during digestion. We aren’t talking about animal protein. We are talking protein. If you are curious about other sources of protein, do a quick google search for “high protein foods” and you’ll find a whole grocery list.
6. Not getting enough sleep. Long-term inadequate sleep is responsible for decreased metabolism and hormonal imbalances. It’s science.
7. Not drinking enough water. In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers found drinking 500 milliliters of water (about 2 cups) increases metabolic rate by 30%, and that spike lasts for more than an hour. So, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and you’ll get the added benefit of a boosted metabolism.
8. Stressing out. When stress levels increase, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol leads to increased appetite, makes us crave comfort foods, decreases our desire to exercise and reduces sleep quality (we just learned all about how those things impact our metabolism). I know we can’t always control our stress but we can do our best to manage it. Breathe. Meditate. Go for a walk.
Let’s start this season of eating and drinking in the best way.