Increasing activity and limiting calories are the most important ways to keep weight off as you get older. But by following the metabolism-boosting pointers below, you may have an easier time keeping those extra pounds from creeping up on you.
Add muscle. Each pound of muscle burns about six calories a day, versus two calories a day for fat. Strength training exercises, such as lifting weights or doing squats, lunges or sit-ups, can help you build muscle.
Get moving. Just 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week can burn about 1,000 calories a week. That works out to about 15 pounds a year. High-intensity workouts, such as jogging or using a stair climber, may have an additional benefit -- increasing your resting metabolic rate after a workout.
Eat more often. The American Dietetic Association recommends eating three meals and one or two snacks a day. Just make sure to choose healthy snacks, such as fruit or yogurt, and don't increase your overall caloric intake.
Eat breakfast. Starting your day on a healthy foundation, such as a bowl of high-fiber cereal, makes it far less likely you'll grab a fattening Danish later on. Another benefit to breakfast? Studies suggest that it gets your metabolism going.
Consume enough protein. Although your body needs a combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat each day, protein is especially important for people who want to lose weight. One reason is that getting enough protein ensures that any weight you lose comes primarily from fat and not from muscle.
Drink plenty of water. Your body runs more effectively when you're well hydrated -- and that includes your metabolism. Water is your best calorie-free choice.
Get your zzzs. Running short on sleep boosts levels of the hormone ghrelin, which research says can make you hungrier, slow your metabolism and promote fat retention.
Don't crash diet. If you go on a very low-calorie diet, your body will go into starvation mode -- slowing your metabolism instead of speeding it up to make full use of every calorie consumed. That's why most people shouldn't trim more than 500 calories a day from their normal intake.
Turn down the heat. Earlier generations generally lived in chillier homes and used up extra calories trying to stay warm in the winter. Although there's no need to be uncomfortable, lowering the thermostat by a couple of degrees in the winter may accomplish two goals: reducing your heating bills and burning a few extra calories