We change in a number of ways as we get older and one thing that seems to creep up on us without being noticed, is those few extra pounds that we are now carrying. There are some useful resources such as Ask Dr. Jen: How to Boost Your Metabolism where you can learn about your metabolism and find some answers to common questions and concerns. Here are some tips and ideas that could help to fix your fat-burning engine. Metabolism explained Your metabolism is basically a measure of the rate in which your body is able to convert calories from food into energy. Your daily metabolic rate is centered around your basal metabolic rate (BMR) combined with your activity levels. There are numerous factors such as age and lifestyle that can affect your BMR and it is important to understand that additional calories are burned by maintaining an active lifestyle through the years. It's important to remember that it is perfectly possible to counteract the effects of aging on metabolism by watching what you eat and exercising regularly. Natural decline It is a fact of life that beyond the age of 30 our body’s physiological processes start to decline. However, this is rarely immediately obvious and often becomes particularly noticeable after you reach your 50th birthday and beyond. There is a decline in the number of cells in each organ and that has the effect of reducing your metabolic rate. These declines in muscle fibers and size lead to an overall reduction in your muscle mass as well as cardiac output, meaning your cardiovascular endurance levels become diminished. This creates a scenario where you respond to these changes in your capacity by reducing your level of physical activity, and this slows down your metabolism by about 5% every 10 years of your life once you reach 30. This natural decline is something that happens to all of us, so it is on you to try and reduce its effects on your body by taking steps to raise your metabolic rate and fight back against the forces of nature that force these physiological changes. Plenty of sleep It's important to increase your level of physical activity and to enjoy a healthy diet. This will boost your metabolic rate. Many of us understand that more waking and plenty of physical activities are going to burn through those calories, but the fact is, more sleep can encourage a quicker metabolism. A single sleepless night can reduce your resting metabolic rate by as much as 5% and a study carried out by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that you burn 20% fewer calories the morning after skipping your normal sleep. Between seven and eight hours of restful sleep each night is actually going to help your body burn those calories and you will also feel ready to face the physical challenges of the day ahead, so it is good news all round. Keep your blood sugar levels in check Your ultimate goal in terms of keeping your internal fat-blasting machine inside your body working at full capacity, is to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Blood sugar is the main fuel that keeps your brain functioning at full capacity, so any point where the levels drop below an acceptable level will result in your brain taking action to try and get that sugar delivery it needs to maintain normal functions. Your brain takes control of the situation by getting the body to release the hormone known as cortisol, so that it can break down tissue including muscle. Then it can turn it into glucose and give your brain what it needs. What all this means is that regular incidents of low blood sugar levels will ultimately leave you with less muscle and cause your metabolism to slow. The solution is normally found by eating smaller regular meals and snacking on 100-200 calorie snacks between those meals, so that your blood sugar levels remain under control. If you have passed your 30th birthday the clock is already ticking, so take some steps to fix your fat-burning engine and be mindful of what you need to eat and do with your lifestyle to boost your metabolism. For help with this, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan!