When you hear the phrase, metabolic health, a speedy metabolism may come to mind. Although that’s part of it, there’s much more to metabolic health than simply how fast food is digested and calories are burned.
Metabolic health is the absence of metabolic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, stroke, and other metabolic conditions. A healthy (not just fast-moving) metabolism ensures your body successfully processes your food without negatively affecting cholesterol, sugar levels, insulin, inflammation, and more.
Shockingly, just 12% of American adults are metabolically healthy, which speaks volumes about many Americans’ lifestyles.
So, if you’re currently battling metabolic conditions, or wish to avoid them, Daniel Saltos, aka Train With Danny, NASM-certified personal trainer and fitness influencer (who has faced metabolic health issues first-hand) is here to show you how you can whip your metabolic health into shape and take hold of your health as soon as right now!
How Danny Saltos Transformed His Body to be Metabolically Healthy
Known as the “chubby kid in school,” Saltos was bullied for his weight until one day at 15 years of age, got fed up and got fit.
With growing knowledge in health and fitness, at the age of 18, Saltos was then hit with a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. “I was terrified, but I took that fear and shifted it to a laser-like focus on my health,” he says.
With a diabetes diagnosis and a fierce passion for health and wellness, Saltos then went on to become a personal trainer and help others achieve optimal health.
Eighteen years later, Saltos has used his personal experience to inspire others to live healthier lives and educate people worldwide about the importance of metabolic health.
The Importance of Obtaining Optimal Metabolic Health
“Optimizing your metabolic health can literally save your life,” says Saltos. Many people with a metabolic syndrome (the opposite of metabolic health) don’t know anything is wrong. This is especially scary when you look at the statistics that only 12% of Americans are considered metabolically healthy.
“In addition to significantly reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, it is instrumental in determining the overall quality of life,” he says. “It can reduce or eliminate the risk of cognitive decline, erectile dysfunction, weight gain, anxiety, mood swings, and cancer.”
Sure, a faster metabolism and feeling good are great benefits of metabolic health, but it’s the life-saving, life-changing side effects that really make an impact.
3 Factors That Can Damage Your Metabolic Health
Food choices, stress levels, sleep patterns, exercises, as well as sex, age, and genes all shape your metabolic health. “Many of us know what we “need to do” to be healthy: Exercise and eat well, says Saltos, “but while that is a great start, many factors can still affect your metabolic health.”
Here, Saltos unpacks three factors that put a damper on metabolic health.
- Poor sleep: Poor sleep can send your hormones into disarray, increase cortisol, and increase blood pressure. All of which affect metabolic health. Aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
- Dehydration: Many of us are not adequately hydrated — especially those active individuals who require more than the advertised eight glasses a day recommendation. Poor hydration can lead to poor kidney function. This domino effect can adversely affect blood pressure and heart function.
- Sugar: A treat from time to time is expected, but, overconsumption of sugar for prolonged periods can have disastrous effects on the body. It leads to inflammation of the blood vessels that causes heart disease. What many people don’t know is that cancer thrives on the presence of excess sugar in the body.
The great news is, there are simple lifestyle changes to bring you into metabolic health and help reverse metabolic damage.
6 Steps to Boost Your Metabolic Health
There are five factors identified as indicators of good or bad metabolic health: blood glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference. If adults can maintain optimal levels of these indicators (without medication) they are deemed metabolically healthy –
Here’s how you can achieve that:
- Exercise: Studies have shown that 30 minutes of planned physical activity three times a week can significantly impact our health. That is 1.5 hours a week to improve blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and improve blood flow.
- Get your steps in: Saltos advises his clients to hit 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day. “This is one of the easiest ways to lose weight and live a long and healthy life,” he says. It might seem challenging but small changes in your lifestyle yield excellent results. “Get up from your desk every hour and walk for a few minutes, take your dog for a walk in the morning and evening, pick parking spaces further away from the store, and always take the stairs (when possible).”
- Eat whole and nutritious foods: Keeping processed foods to a minimum is one of the cornerstones of proper health. Saltos encourages his clients to shop for foods with the least amount of ingredients.
- Schedule an appointment with your physician: Take charge of your health and be proactive. “This can be the difference between getting on medication or never having to touch a pill bottle,” Saltos says. Remember, your doctor only sees you once a year, but you live in your body daily.
- Drink plenty of water: If you’re not crazy about drinking water Saltos recommends adding some flavor with electrolytes, cucumber slices, lemon, or fresh berries to your water.
- Create a sleep ritual: We have rituals all day, but one that is constantly overlooked and undervalued in our nighttime routine. “Get rid of the screens an hour before bed,” says Saltos. “Pick up a good book, meditate, or connect with your partner; You’ll wake up more refreshed and ready to conquer your day” he explains.
Benefits of a Healthy Metabolism
The benefits to metabolic health are endless. “It’s not just about avoiding disease; it’s about living a quality life,” says Saltos, and here are the benefits:
- Better moods/less irritability
- Improved sex drive
- Increased focus
- Increased energy
- Improved sleep
- Weight loss
- Increased cardiovascular endurance
- Fewer cravings
- Better food choices