Metabolism. How to keep it at peak levels is what we all want to know. Everyone would like the metabolism of their 18-year-old self. Food didn’t seem to affect your body as much at that age. You may have heard about special pills, supplements or diets that can amp up your metabolism but believe it or not; exercise is the golden ticket for boosting your metabolism. Think of your metabolism as a powerhouse that converts your food into energy and propels your body from one minute to the next without missing a beat.
Multiple factors may affect how well your metabolism operates. Let’s take a moment to examine a few of the things that may get in the way of our bodies functioning at optimal levels.
Studies show that with age, our metabolism begins to decline. This change often leads to extra pounds that are difficult to shed. Along with that we lose anywhere from three to five percent of our muscle mass, and we generally are less active. These two things combined make it easier for the pounds to begin accumulating, especially around the waistline area. Blame it on a slower metabolism. To counteract the effects of aging, we should burn 30 to 50 percent of our calories through exercise activity.
Females tend to have a lower metabolism than men due to a variety of factors including estrogen levels and a lower resting metabolic rate. This resting metabolic rate helps to determine a person’s overall total daily energy release if no exercise takes place. Remember the body does burn calories throughout the day even if we do nothing physical. The number just isn’t enough for most people to avoid weight gain as they age. Resting metabolic rate also plays a vital role in the regulation of our energy balance. We’ve all heard the, “I wish I had their energy” from an older person as they watch a 5-year-old.
Hormones can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Too much cortisol can lead to weight gain and increase our risk of heart disease and diabetes. Working out before consuming a meal can help to drop those cortisol levels and improve your metabolic functions.
Testosterone levels also decrease and can trigger a bit of weight gain and leave us feeling fatigued. Daily workout regimens can help to keep testosterone levels at healthy, stable levels and allow for a healthy metabolism.
Estrogen is another hormone that triggers metabolism malfunction. An imbalance in this hormone can cause weight to increase rapidly, giving testimony to metabolism that may not be operating in a way that is most beneficial to you.
Finally, thyroid hormone imbalances can disrupt the overall effectiveness of your metabolism. Thyroid hormones help to control the metabolic processes in the body that are necessary for growth, development, and metabolism.
Hyperthyroidism or a thyroid that is in a hyper-metabolic state can cause your metabolism to go into overdrive, leading to weight loss and excessive use of your resting energy. On the other hand, an under-performing thyroid (hypothyroidism) caused by hypo-metabolism can create a reduced resting energy expenditure, and cause weight gain.
Figuring out all the ways to regain control of your metabolism can be overwhelming but there is one thing you can do to move the needle on the scale, and that is to exercise. Working out helps your muscles use a fair amount of energy and burn calories. The great thing about exercise is that even after the workout is over your muscles can continue to burn fat and it helps to keep your metabolism functioning at optimal levels.
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 do wonders help get to put your metabolism into overdrive. Let’s take a look at this magic duo.
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, performing two sets of repetitions (12-15) working on the major muscle groups (back, arms, legs, and abs).
Aerobic activity is another must-have ingredient for boosting your metabolism. Interval training is particularly useful and yields positive results. Walking, swimming, kickboxing, jogging, or even Zumba are excellent options for enhancing your metabolism.
In summary, there may be a few options you cannot control when it comes to your metabolism but exercise is the golden ticket you can control. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.
Until next time
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