There’s nothing like dusting off our summer wardrobes to get us motivated toward health goals, right? And that’s great! It’s the perfect time to step up your fitness game. Use the momentum, set some goals and challenge yourself to start new, healthy habits that will get your health and fitness levels right where you want them.
Sure, you know you’ll need to put in some work to reap the rewards, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Small changes can add up to life-changing results, and you can have tons of fun along the way. Get started by kicking your metabolism into full gear with these tips below. But first, let’s talk about metabolism and why it matters.
The Connection Between Metabolism & Weight
What exactly is metabolism? To put it simply, metabolism is the process in which your body converts the foods you eat (calories) into energy and uses that energy to fuel vital processes and activities.1 Your body needs that energy even when you are sitting still.
Breathing, blood circulation, muscle contraction, digestion, waste elimination, body temperature control, nerve function, cellular repair and even thinking all require energy.2 And that’s just the beginning!
The amount of energy your body needs to carry out all those hidden processes is known as your metabolic rate, and everyone’s is a little bit different. Metabolic rate can vary based on age, body size and composition, eating habits, and some medications can affect metabolism too.1
If you take in more calories than your body uses for those regular functions every day, you may notice weight gain or have trouble losing weight unless you find ways to boost your metabolism and use up the extra energy. So, how do you boost metabolism and burn more calories? Here are some tips.
#1 Eat Breakfast to Kick Start Metabolism
There’s more to this one than you may think. Eating breakfast is a great way to jump-start your metabolism.1 Research shows that our fat cells may function differently after eating breakfast, and eating breakfast may have a positive impact on metabolism.3 Even if eating a morning meal increases your total calorie intake for the day, that increase may be offset by burning more energy throughout the day.3
So, if your breakfast usually equates to grabbing some coffee on the way out the door, give your mornings a healthy upgrade. At the very least, opt for coconut oil or keto coffee instead. Ideally, you should enjoy a balanced, protein- and fiber-rich breakfast, which will also help keep you satisfied and less likely to snack before your next meal.
#2 Get Outside & Move More for a Metabolic Boost
Really want to get your metabolism going? Get your body moving! Nothing is better for torching calories than activity, and the benefits don’t stop when you stop moving. There are several factors at play when it comes to exercise and metabolism.
In addition to the energy it takes to perform the physical exercise, studies have shown that our resting metabolic rate may get a boost for up to 2 hours after a workout with smaller, residual effects lasting for up to 48 hours after we stop exercising.4
Also, by moving more you’ll build more muscle, and more muscle means even more energy burn. Muscle cells use a lot of energy, burning more calories than fat cells even when you are sitting still, so there’s an exponential effect.2
That’s a lot of metabolic benefits! And the best part? You don’t have to become a workout fanatic to get those benefits. Start a daily walking habit or make time for mini workouts throughout your day. There are plenty of simple and fun ways to fit more movement in your day, every day.
Inspired to get moving? We thought so! Here are some tips for taking advantage of summer weather to move more.
Beat the Heat by Starting Early
Sunny days are oh-so-inviting, but sometimes summer heat can get in the way of our best outdoor workout intentions. When temperatures are soaring, you can still enjoy the outdoors by exercising earlier in the day when temps are usually lower. As a bonus, you’ll give your metabolism a boost first thing in the morning and reap the benefits all day long!
Try Your Favorite Indoor Workouts Outside
Summer is the perfect time to take your favorite indoor workouts outside! Are you a fan of the rowing machine at the gym? Enroll in an outdoor rowing class over the summer! You’ll burn calories and build lean muscle while trying something new, plus you’ll get some fantastic views. If an exercise bike is more your speed, join an outdoor bicycling meetup. Or if yoga is your favorite, take your yoga mat to a park and enjoy getting in touch with nature while you perfect your asanas.
Pack a Bag with Summer Essentials
Remember to pack warm weather essentials to take with you if you’ll be outside for a while. Wear sunscreen and bring it along to reapply as directed. Pack your favorite natural lip balm, and keep a refillable bottle of water on hand to stay hydrated.
Avoid Heat Exhaustion During Summer Activities
Keep an eye on the weather forecast for heat advisories and temperature changes throughout the day. Heat exhaustion is a real threat, especially for people over 65 and those with existing health concerns.5 Check out these Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and learn about the signs of heat-related health concerns from their Guide to Heat-Related Illnesses. If the heat index is high, work out in an air-conditioned indoor space instead.
#3 Hydrate for Health & Weight Loss
It’s no secret that your body needs water and hydration has a huge impact on overall health. Water helps regulate your core temperature and supports digestion, plus it’s good for your joints and skin and so much more. But in case you need another reason to stay hydrated, research has linked increased hydration with weight loss and a boosted metabolic rate.6
Staying hydrated is one of the simplest things you can do to support your overall health and your metabolism. You might also want to add some electrolytes to your water if you’ll be working up a sweat to replenish the salt and minerals you lose while sweating.
Learn about the benefits of water and how to make delicious water infusions in Water for the Win: Benefits of Water, Plus 5 Water Infusions to Try.
#4 Say Om & Take Care of You
With so much focus on getting your body moving to stay fit, it’s important to remember that your body and mind need down time too. Always listen to your body. If you feel sore from activity, take a break. Don’t overdo it. Gently stretch your muscles after exercising and try adding yoga and meditative practices to your self-care routine.
Recovery time can come with metabolic benefits too. Doing yoga on a regular basis may help your body recover from stressful conditions more quickly, help stabilize the nervous system and it may even lead to greater metabolic efficiency.7 You can also round out your mind and body health efforts by embracing meditation, which can help you de-stress, clear your mind, and tune in to your body. Learn more in Say Om: 6 Tips to Help You Relax and Reduce Stress.
#5 Try Energy Vitamins & Supplements
There’s no such thing as an instant fix when it comes to getting fit and healthy, but you can get some help along the way by supporting your body with energizing vitamins and supplements. Here are some of our favorites.
Swanson Ultra Real Food B-Complex
Our real food B-complex formula features B vitamins sourced from organically cultivated quinoa sprouts to support energy production, energy metabolism, glucose metabolism, heart and mental health as well as help maintain cell-to-cell communication in the brain.
Swanson Ultra Power Energy Formula (Caffeine + Herbs)
Skip the sugary energy drinks. Swanson Power Energy Formula will put the jump in your jive without the unnecessary calories. Featuring 50 mg of caffeine (from coffee beans), plus theobromine from cocoa beans and the Brazilian energizer Cha de Bugre, these potent capsules pack a powerful punch.
Swanson Premium L-Carnitine
Unlock your potential for a lean, muscular body with Swanson Premium L-Carnitine! A favorite among dieters and bodybuilders, this amazing amino acid helps the body burn fat to energize muscles for effective, productive workouts.
Swanson Best Weight-Control Formulas Tonalin CLA
If you are looking for a compelling addition to your health regimen for burning fat, then look no further! Swanson Tonalin CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a patented fatty acid supplement produced from a safflower oil blend that works to help burn body fat while promoting lean muscle development.
#6 Set Goals & Embrace Non-Scale Victories (NSVs)
What are your goals for the summer? Be more specific than “get healthy” or “lose weight.” Decide what you want from the season and set measurable, attainable goals to get there. Goals are incredibly motivating. By setting smaller goals along the way, it will be easier to keep your momentum along the way.
For example, if your goal is to run a 5k by the end of summer, set incremental goals to help get you there. During the first week, your goal might be to walk at least half a mile each day. The next week you might set a goal of alternating between walking and light jogging every other day and build up from there. Start from where you are and set smaller goals with your long-game in mind, and celebrate non-scale victories along the way.
What are non-scale victories? They’re all the other benefits that happen on the way to meeting your larger goals. Non-scale victories can be internal or external and relate to mind or body. For example, you might enjoy reduced stress or more energy as result of getting more exercise or better nutrition.
Learning to listen to your body and what it needs to stay healthy is also a non-scale victory. And so is enjoying glowing skin and brighter eyes because of healthy changes in your life. Getting healthy is about a lot more than numbers on a scale or fitting into last year’s swimsuit. Celebrating non-scale victories helps us remember that the journey of self-care is important.
How to Boost Your Metabolism
These tips will help you get a great start this summer and kick your metabolism into full gear. Begin each day on the right track with a healthy breakfast. Get outside and move more, stay hydrated, and don’t forget to give yourself some down time to recover. Recovery time can have metabolic benefits too! Set goals to stay motivated, but enjoy the non-scale victories on your way there. And explore energizing vitamins and supplements to give your body a helping hand.
If you have some metabolism-boosting tips to share, post them in the comments below. And be sure to check out Move More: How to Move More Each Day and Kick-Start Your Morning: 6 Morning Hacks to Kick-Start Your Day for more healthy tips.
1 What exactly is metabolism? Mayo Clinic. http://diet.mayoclinic.org/diet/move/what-is-metabolism?xid=nl_MayoClinicDiet_20150910 (Accessed 06/01/2018)
2 Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508 (Accessed 06/01/2018)
3 How Eating Breakfast Can Help Your Metabolism. Time Health. http://time.com/5040325/eating-breakfast-metabolism/ (Accessed 06/01/2018)
4 Physical activity and resting metabolic rate. PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14692598 (Accessed 06/04/2018)
5 Are You Prepared for the Summer Heat? AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/symptoms-heat-stroke-exhaustion-fd.html (Accessed 06/04/2018)
6 Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4901052/ (Accessed 06/04/2018)
7 Long-term effect of yogic practices on diurnal metabolic rates of healthy subjects. International Journal of Yoga. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3144606/ (Accessed 06/04/2018)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.