Sluggish Metabolism? It Might Not Be What You Think!
I often hear people say that their weight gain is due to their “slow metabolism”. But is it? Do diet pills magically boost your metabolism? Do some diets speed up your metabolism?
Let’s look first at what your metabolism is, and what (if anything) you can do to speed it up.
What Is Your Metabolism?
Your metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. You need energy not just to move around and do things, but also for all your bodily functions, such as digesting food, breathing, circulating blood, repairing cells and more.
The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate — and that’s often called your metabolism.
What Affects Your Metabolism?
Lots of things affect your metabolism – and most of them are un-changeable.
- Your age. You can’t change your age (sadly), and as you get older, you tend to lose muscle, and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.
- Your gender. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than women of the same age and weight, which means men burn more calories.
- Your body size and composition. People who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.
- Your hormones change throughout your lifetime, and you don’t have total control over them – your body mostly decides for you.
- Hyper-thyroidism. An under-performing thyroid can make you use less energy and cause weight gain. This is a medical condition.
So, what CAN you change?
So, What CAN You Change To Boost Your Metabolism?
By now it’s pretty obvious that you don’t have much control over the speed of your basal metabolism.
However, you can control what you eat, and you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity.
The basic, simple rule is:- You gain weight when you burn fewer calories than you eat.
- A healthy diet full of fresh, whole foods (not processed) keeps you feeling full and doesn’t pile on the calories. Dietary supplements don’t help in burning calories or weight loss. Products that claim to speed up your metabolism are often more hype than help, and some may cause nasty or even dangerous side effects.
- The more active you are, the more calories you burn. So, getting more exercise, being more active, is the most reliable way to “boost your metabolism” by burning more calories.
Which Exercise is Best to Boost Your Metabolism?
Is there one single exercise that works best for a healthy metabolism? The short answer is ‘no,’ but there are a couple of activities that when paired together can work wonders.
Lift Weights to Burn Fat
Lifting weights is a fantastic approach to helping you not only build muscles but burn fat as well. Muscles use more calories at rest than fat cells.
Don’t worry about becoming a gym rat. You only need two days a week to perform two sets of repetitions (12-15) working on those major muscle groups (back, arms, legs, and abs).
Aerobic activity is another must-have ingredient for boosting your metabolism. Aerobic exercise can be as simple as a brisk walk in the fresh air. But swimming, kickboxing, jogging, or Zumba are all excellent options for enhancing your metabolism. Interval training is particularly useful and yields positive results.
Yes, there are some things you can’t change when it comes to your metabolism.
But exercise is the “magic” game-changer.
Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.
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