If you're looking to boost your metabolism, a number of simple lifestyle choices can give your body the lift it needs

Metabolism refers to the body’s internal functions. This includes the rate your body produces energy – or burns “calories.”

We can boost our metabolism with several lifestyle practices including exercising, eating smaller more frequent meals (the process of eating raises metabolism), and avoiding severe caloric restriction, which actually slows metabolism to conserve the energy you aren’t getting from food.

Get Fit, Boost Your Metabolism

Regular physical activity is perhaps the best way to boost metabolism. You can increase your metabolism sporadically throughout the day if you take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk to lunch.

If you follow a regular exercise program, your metabolism can remain elevated for several hours after exercise. In addition, exercise increases muscle. Since muscle is more active than fat, more muscle means a faster metabolism.

How Age Affects Your Metabolism

Metabolism does not decrease with age. Studies comparing active middle-aged people to active younger groups found little difference in resting metabolic rates. No matter what your age, if you quit exercising, muscle tissue is lost and metabolism slows.

Metabolism can be slowed by medications and disorders such as diabetes and hypothyroidism. When organs and glands are not performing efficiently, the body’s rate of activity is compromised. However, lifestyle habits can be changed, nutritional deficiencies corrected and medications adjusted to help increase metabolism.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.