Your metabolism is an important factor in how quickly you lose weight and your ability to maintain your weight. A fast metabolism will help you lose weight quicker while a slow metabolism makes is harder to lose weight and can actually make you gain weight easily. Understanding how the metabolism works and what you can do to get your metabolism working to its maximum potential can help you with your weight loss program.
How Your Metabolism Works
Your metabolism is a complex network of enzymes and hormones that determine how the food you eat is converted into energy and also how efficiently you burn that energy. Within this process the metabolism dictates the rate (metabolic rate) in which you burn the calories you eat. If your metabolism is not working to its maximum potential then it is harder for you to lose weight or keep the pounds off.
Of course, the metabolism is influenced by many factors such as your age, whether you are male or female, and how much lean muscle your body has. Certain medications, such as blood pressure or heart medication, can also slow down your metabolism. In some cases an imbalance in your thyroid can cause your metabolism to slow down, but this can be treated with medication. The good news is that through exercise, muscle strengthening, and eating nutritious foods you can boost your metabolism safely and naturally.
Boost Your Metabolism with Exercise
Your body burns calories whether it is working hard or sleeping, but by raising your metabolic rate you can increase the amount of calories your body uses all day long. Exercise is the best way to increase your metabolic rate to burn calories and lose weight. The most effective exercise is one in which you raise your heart rate and keep it raised for 20-30 minutes, 4-5 times a week. Aerobic workouts, running, walking fast, kickboxing, cycling, dancing, or using cardio machines like the treadmill or elliptical machine are sure ways to raise your heart rate and boost your metabolism. Not only does this type of exercise burn the fat in those hard to reach places, such as your belly and thighs, but it keeps your metabolism running faster for up to 24 hours after exercise. That means that even when you are sitting or sleeping your metabolic rate is burning more calories then if you hadn’t exercised.
Raise Your Metabolism by Building Lean Muscle
Exercise that builds lean muscle, such as weight training, yoga or Pilates, at least two times a week will also help to boost your resting metabolism. This type of exercise results in increased lean muscle, and a body with more lean muscle burns calories more effectively. Even if you are at your target weight you can keep the extra pounds off by continuing with body strengthening exercise.
Eating Can Jump-Start Your Metabolism
Eating can actually boost your metabolism and certain foods can make it work even harder. Since the body has to work to process food through the system this causes you to burn calories. The most efficient way to eat to raise your metabolic rate consists of eating five to seven small healthy meals or snacks each day. This helps to maintain a consistent metabolic rate throughout the day as the food moves through your system. In turn, you will burn more calories at a higher rate.
Eating certain foods can also help your body work harder to burn calories. Foods high in protein and fiber take longer for the body to digest, making it work harder and burn more calories. Foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and walnuts keep the metabolism regulated because they regulate the hormone leptin in your system. Leptin helps influence the metabolism in how it burns and stores fat. Keeping hydrated by drinking a lot of water and adding calcium-rich foods to your diet will also help you raise your metabolism and burn fat.
By following these tips you are sure to rev up your metabolism and finally lose, and keep off, those extra pounds.