Most of what controls your metabolism is totally involuntary. You see, some people are born with a high-burning metabolism, while others have a rather slow metabolism and may tend to gain weight easier.
Gender plays a big role too, in how the metabolism functions. Most men have a metabolism that is 10 to 15 percent higher than women’s; mainly because of their larger size and greater muscle mass.
Metabolism is simply the total of all body processes that burn calories – your metabolic rate plus your activity level.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, your metabolism naturally decreases with age. Scientists have estimated that metabolism slows about 5 percent per decade, beginning at age 40, as we lose muscle mass and increase body fat.
However, your metabolism doesn’t have to deplete so rapidly. You can burn more calories and thereby lose more weight, just by making some changes in the way you live.
- Build muscle. Strength training with dumbbells or resistance bands at least twice a week is essential to boosting your metabolism. And here’s the really good news: Your metabolism stays pumped for many hours after you finish your workout.
- Get moving. As with the 30 Minutes To A New You Exercise Program, at least 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise every other day will raise your metabolism. I’m talking about walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or some other form of fun activity a minimum of three times a week to complement your strength training exercises. Both types of exercise work together to increase endurance, build strength and help to burn fat quicker.
- Eat regularly, every day and don’t skip meals. This may be hard to comprehend for someone who is trying to lose weight. But starving yourself is the absolute opposite of what you need to do if you really want to lose weight. Instead, eat five portion-controlled meals a day to keep you metabolism working at its peak.
- Don’t eat sugar. Sugar throws your metabolic system into fat storage mode. Aim for a diet with a predominately low glycolic index that break down gradually to maintain blood sugar levels. Eat a couple of pieces of fruit every day to satisfy your sweet tooth
- Be sure to eat breakfast. It’s a fact that people who eat a healthy breakfast are skinnier than people who don’t. Be sure to include a protein at breakfast and at every other meal.
- Pop a pepper. If Mexican and Thai are favorites, you’re in luck. “Spicy food that has hot peppers in it appears to boost metabolism,” Lieberman says.
- Drink green tea. You can stimulate metabolism longer and more effectively by drinking green tea rather than coffee.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water essential to flushing the body of toxic byproducts that are released when fat is burned. Cold water may also give your metabolism at least a small boost because energy is required to heat the body.
- Avoid stress. Physical and emotional stress activates the release of cortisol, a hormone that slows metabolism and is responsible for increased belly fat.
- Sleep, rest and relaxation. Getting enough sleep is key to keeping your metabolism working at it best. Research shows that people who don’t sleep for seven to eight hours a night are more prone to weight gain. In addition, it has been determined that lean muscle is regenerated in the final couple of hours of sleep each night. So those last few hours of sleep really are important.
~ Karen Ficarelli
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