Many factors can affect your metabolism, such as body size, body composition, heredity, sex and age.

Metabolism is the process by which our bodies convert what we take in (food and drink) into useable energy.

Even when you aren’t moving, your body needs energy to maintain functions such as breathing and circulating blood. The number of calories your body needs to perform these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate.

Some people burn more calories doing the same activity as others. Since they burn more, they can consume more calories without gaining as much weight as others with slower metabolisms.

Many factors can affect your metabolism, such as body size, body composition, heredity, sex and age.

There are some things you can do to increase your metabolism in a healthy manner. One way to help increase your metabolism is to build muscle. Muscle uses about three times as many calories to sustain itself as fat does.

If you are healthy enough, you can add some high-intensity cardio to your workout routine. Not only does high-intensity exercise increase your metabolic rate, but it also makes that rise last longer after you finish exercising.

It is also important to stay hydrated. Your body needs water in order to process calories. If you are even slightly dehydrated, your metabolism will slow down.

Eating many small meals rather than three large ones can help increase metabolism. When you eat large meals with many hours separating them, your metabolism slows down in the time between meals. Eating small portions every couple hours keeps your metabolism active.

If you eat lean proteins, you will also burn more calories. This is so because your body uses a lot more calories digesting protein than it does fats and carbohydrates.

There are many products and dietary supplements out there that claim to speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight. There is no magic pill out there that can make you lose weight in a healthy and maintainable manner. Remember to view these products with caution and skepticism and always consult your doctor before taking them. You should also consult your health care provider before you start any weight loss or exercise plan.

Tyler Glidden is the wellness director for the McPherson Family YMCA. He has a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Wellness and a master’s degree in Exercise Science.