Feel like you can’t seem to lose weight as quickly as you used to? Notice that at each birthday, you have a few more lumps and bumps than you had the year before? You’ve likely heard that your metabolic rate—or how many calories you burn on a daily basis—declines as you age. But the good news is that there’s plenty you can do to give your slowing metabolism a big boost, says Matt Tanneberg, DC, a sports chiropractor and certified strength and conditioning specialist in Phoenix.
“It’s never too late to start making changes that can have a huge, positive impact on your metabolism,” says Tanneberg. “Some of my 70-year-old patients have faster metabolisms than my 30-year-old patients—proof that if you take care of your body, it will respond.” To start taking the right steps to give your metabolism a boost and keep it humming as you get older, follow this advice.
Yes, it can be tempting to skip it, but Tanneberg says it’s ideal to have a meal within 30 minutes of waking up. “This will replenish your body from the night’s sleep and set all of your systems up to function properly throughout the day,” he says. Tend to wait to eat breakfast until mid-morning, when you’re already famished? It’s a sign your metabolism has slowed down. “When you’re hungry, your body stops burning calories—and that’s a signal that your metabolism has dramatically slowed down,” he says. To keep it revved, make your morning meal a priority—and don’t forget to eat at regular intervals throughout the day, too.
Lift weights—preferably in the morning.
You know that exercise plays a key role boosting your metabolism. Yet if you tend to be a cardio junkie and shy away from your gym’s weight room, it’s time to cozy up to those dumbbells and machines. “Weight training helps you build muscle, which we know for a fact helps to improve metabolic rate and increases your fat-burning potential,” says Tanneberg. Phoenyx Austin, MD, a certified sports medicine and sports nutrition specialist agrees, adding that building muscle has the added benefit of keeping your metabolism revved even when you’re not working out. “Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily,” says Austin. Tanneberg tells his patients to do their weight training in the morning, if possible. “When you lift first thing, your metabolism will be higher throughout the rest of the day,” he says.