The One Secret to Boost Your Metabolism
What comes to mind when you hear that word? If it's frustration and anxiety, it's time to think about your metabolism in a new way. Remove any emotional connection to the word and see metabolism for what it is: science.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is a chemical process, like photosynthesis or digestion. If you start with that fact, it might be easier to understand and accept that you can do something about your "slow" metabolism. By understanding how muscle plays a role, you can learn how to increase your metabolism and make a change for the better.
Metabolism is the chemical process that converts the food you eat into energy that you burn throughout the day. Calories are a unit of energy.
If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. While this is essentially true, it is more complicated than that.
It's not just the movement that burns calories. In addition to the calories you burn when you run, bike, and swim, you also have a "resting metabolic rate." This is the calorie burn that occurs when you sit at your desk and work, watch TV on the couch, and while you sleep.
Even when you are at rest, your body needs energy for all its hidden functions, such as breathing, blood circulation, maintaining body temperature, adjusting hormone levels, and cell growth and repair.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several things that can affect your metabolism:
- Body size and composition: If you weigh more or have more muscle mass, you will burn more calories, even at rest. People who weigh more are more likely to have a faster metabolic rate, not a slower one, because some of the excess weight is muscle tissue.
- Sex: If you are a man, you probably have less body fat and more muscle mass than a woman of the same age, so you burn more calories.
- Age: As you age, your muscle mass decreases, which decreases your calorie burning rate.
Do you feel a theme? The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns throughout the day. Muscle burns three to five times more calories than fat. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when you're perfectly still.
Unfortunately, after age 35, you start to lose about a pound of muscle a year if you are not actively replacing it. The good news is that there is something you can do about it: strength training.
Adding muscle to your body will help boost your metabolism and keep you in shape. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists the numerous other benefits seen in people who train regularly, such as reducing symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, and depression.
Strength training to boost your metabolism
Now that you know the importance of strength training, where do you start? Do you have to go to a gym and be surrounded by snarling men lifting giant weights? The good news is that lifting weights is just one of many ways to strength train. Take a look at some others.
Dumbbells or Dumbbells: The most widely used strength equipment, dumbbells or dumbbells come in all sizes, from very light to very heavy. This makes them suitable for all levels of professionals.
Go as light as you see fit. It is advisable to hire a trainer (even for a single session) to show the proper form and get started. If that's not an option, there are exercises and online apps that can teach you what you need to know.
Bodyweight: If you're new to strength training, bodyweight is the way to go. Using your own body weight for sit-ups, lunges, squats, or push-ups doesn't require any equipment, but it will give you a good workout.
Machines: Weight machines at the gym or circuit-style clubs may be easier to use than dumbbells if you are new to strength training. Most machines have instructions and pictures on the front, making it easy to understand what to do. The machines are also a bit more secure due to their fixed nature.
Strength class: If you belong to a gym, try a class that involves strength training. Receiving instruction from a professional teacher is a great way to learn many different movements for a variety of parts of the body. Also, group setup can be a lot of fun.
Exercises on DVD, online or in apps: Do your workout in the comfort of your home. The videos allow you to continue as the teacher guides you through the routine, providing you with not only instruction, but also friendly companionship and motivation.
There are online fitness streaming apps and services that allow you to work out with your favorite fitness pro from anywhere, anytime.
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