Turning 30 can be a pivotal moment in your life. Your career and relationships are starting to cement themselves and you may be thinking about starting a family. But you may have also started noticing a change in your energy level. Quite frankly, you might feel zapped. Well, it’s no secret that our metabolism starts to slow down as we get older. According to the American Council on Exercise, your basal metabolic rate — your body’s metabolism — starts to decline by at least one to two percent per decade. In other words, now is the time to get yourself in gear and start choosing healthy lifestyle habits that can keep you feeling energized well into your 40s and beyond.
You may have already started to notice that though your diet hasn’t changed, a few pounds have started sneaking on. While the extra time you spend at work sitting in front of your desk might be partially to blame, you can mitigate some of the effects. Yes, you guessed it — working out, especially strategically, can help. “When it comes to exercise, the types you choose can make a big difference,” says Jillian Michaels, health and wellness expert, and creator of the My Fitness by Jillian Michaels app. “While I always encourage people to do something they enjoy so they stick with it, there are definitely ways of working out that are more effective than others.” Her favorite choices for boosting metabolism are resistance training with free weights, HIIT, body weight exercises that use muscle groups, and circuit training. “These fitness techniques are the most effective because they work off your body’s natural stress adaptation response,” Michaels says. Since exercise is a form of physical stress, training intelligently helps your body to adapt to destress, becoming stronger and faster, translating to more muscle tone and energy.
Food to the rescue
While your natural instinct to ward off the weight gain from the slowing down of your metabolism may be to skimp on calories, that strategy can backfire. In fact, not eating enough can lead to a decrease in your metabolism. When your body notices a calorie deficit it goes into starvation mode, which can lower the rate at which it burns calories. The body does so to protect itself. Instead, keep your body functioning at its calories burning best by skipping processed foods and eating organic thin-skinned fruits, meat, and dairy. “This way you avoid a lot of the antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides that can disrupt your hormone balance and lower your metabolism,” says Michaels. “What determines the rate of your metabolism or the rate your body burns calories is your hormone balance.”
Get your zzzz’s
Lastly, don’t skimp on sleep. Research has shown that not getting enough shut eye at night can contribute to your metabolism slowing down. This can be due to the role that hormones ghrelin and leptin play in helping to regulate your appetite. While leptin tells your brain that you are full, ghrelin increases your appetite. A study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology found that lack of sleep decreases leptin and increases ghrelin. This alteration causes you to eat more because you are not receiving the signal that you are full, negatively influencing your metabolism. Fortunately, you can turn that around with a good night’s sleep. “Getting no less than seven and no more than nine hours of sleep has been linked from everything to better heart health and anti-aging to an elevated metabolism,” says Michaels.