4 ways to Increase Your Metabolism If You Have a Spinal Cord Injury 

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increase your metabolism

If you have a spinal cord injury, you may struggle with weight gain. This is a common problem for people with SCIs, because their metabolism slows down significantly after the injury. In this blog post, we will discuss how you can increase your metabolism to lose weight. 

There are several ways to increase your metabolism: 

Increase Your Metabolism by Eating Smaller Meals Throughout the Day 

You probably heard the advice to eat small meals more frequently throughout the day, instead of three large meals. This advice is based on the theory that frequent small meals will increase your metabolism and help you lose weight. Does frequent meal-eating really increase metabolism? 

The increase in metabolism from frequent meals is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). TEF is the number of calories your body uses to digest, absorb, and process the nutrients in your food. When you eat a meal, your body must work to digest and absorb the food, which uses energy in calories. So, when you eat more meals throughout the day, you increase the number of calories your body burns each day. 

However, the increase in metabolism from eating frequent meals is relatively small. For example, one study found that eating six smaller meals per day increased daily calorie burning of about 100 calories per day compared to eating three larger meals per day. While this increase in metabolism may not seem like much, it could potentially lead to weight loss over time if you consume fewer calories than you burn each day. As your stomach decreases in size (from not consuming such large amounts of food), this will also help decrease your appetite and calorie intake.

Increase Your Metabolism by Adding More Protein To Your Diet

Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and produce enzymes and hormones. Unlike carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugar and absorbed into the bloodstream, protein is broken down into amino acids, which are then used by the body to build new proteins. Because of this, protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, which can help keep you feeling full for longer. Protein also helps increase your metabolism by building muscle. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, so the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. As a result, including protein in your diet can help you feel fuller for longer and boost your metabolism. 

Increase Your Metabolism by Exercising 

An increase in metabolism is often associated with weight loss. But what is metabolism, exactly? Simply, metabolism is the process by which your body breaks down food and converts it into energy. But geek out here if you want more on the science and definition of our metabolism! Think about it as the furnace inside your body that burns calories to give you energy. A faster metabolism means you would burn more calories and be more energized. As wheelchair users, because we sit all day, it’s important to think about our metabolism, and how to increase it.

A faster metabolism results in more calories burning, which can lead to weight loss. Exercise is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism. Cardio exercises are particularly helpful in this regard. Getting a good workout in the morning can boost your metabolism for the rest of the day. Of course, you would burn a certain number of calories doing the actual workout, but after that your metabolism is elevated and you will continue to burn more calories throughout the day than you would have otherwise. Your body burns fat as energy while doing cardiovascular exercise. This is the number one way to lose fat, and can often be overlooked by wheelchair users.

For cardio, you want exercise that puts your heart rate at 50 to 85% of your max. Here is the chart to find your target heart rate for cardio, according to the American Heart Association.  


You can easily calculate your heart rate by counting your pulse for 10 seconds and multiplying by six. So if you’re 30 years old, you have a target heart rate of 95 to 162 bpm, so that 16 to 27 beats for a 10 second count. Exercise also helps build muscle, and the more muscle you have, the more calories get burned. As a result, increasing your muscle mass will also help increase your metabolism. So if you’re looking to boost your metabolism, add some cardio exercises to your routine. 

Increase Your Metabolism by Getting Enough Sleep 

Most people know that getting a good night’s sleep is important for overall health, but what many don’t realize is that sleep can also help increase your metabolism. When you’re asleep, your body can better process and use the nutrients you’ve taken in during the day, including fat and carbohydrates. In addition, sleep helps increase the production of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. As a result, getting enough sleep can actually help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism and preventing cravings. So if you’re a wheelchair user looking to increase your metabolism, be sure to get plenty of rest!


Now that you know some of the best ways to increase your metabolism, it’s time to get started. We have a host of helpful videos on our website that show you how to do exercises with any limitation. Don’t let your spinal cord injury keep you from being healthy and happy – start increasing your metabolism today!



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