by Greg Landry
You hear it all the time – “metabolism,” but what is it? It’s the process of converting food to energy (movement and heat). Metabolism happens in your muscles and organs and the result of it is what we commonly refer to as “burning calories.” Metabolic rate is the speed at which this process is occurring.
“Basal metabolic rate” (BMR) is the metabolic rate or caloric expenditure needed to maintain basal body functions such as your heart beating, breathing, muscle tone, etc. Basal metabolism accounts for about 75% of the calories you expend on a daily basis!
The good news is that there are 7 ways you can “boost” your BMR! The more of these you’re able to incorporate into your life, the more you’ll boost your metabolism. That means you’ll be expending (“burning”) more calories 24 hours a day!
1. Tone your muscles with weight training three days per week. Toned muscles send your metabolism through the roof. Do it!
2. Do some type of aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, swimming, stationary cycling, aerobic dancing, etc.) on a DAILY basis (preferably in the morning) for 30 to 60 minutes! Forget this twice-a-week stuff. Your body was designed to be active on a daily basis! When you are, your metabolism will soar! (Read more on morning exercise).
3. Always eat breakfast! Skipping breakfast sends the message to your body that you’re starving because you haven’t had food for a while. As a protective mechanism, your metabolism slows down. Food, especially complex carbohydrates, fuels your metabolism.
4. Never eat less than 1200 calories per day! Less than 1200 is usually not enough to support your basal metabolism and thus will slow your metabolism.
5. In addition to your regular aerobic exercise, take a 10 to 30 minute walk at lunch or in the evening. This serves to boost your metabolism even more!
6. Look for situations to be active. Park as far from the store as you can (when safe) rather than looking for the closest parking spot. Use the stairs rather than the elevator, a rake rather than a blower, etc. Look for the “hard” way to do things! Make your life an active one.
7. Incorporate “intervals” into most of your aerobic sessions. Intervals are a powerful tool to help boost your metabolism.
Intervals are brief periods (about one minute) of more intense exercise mixed into your regular aerobic exercise sessions. For example, if you’re walking, you would do a one minute interval of faster walking about every five minutes throughout your exercise session.
Here’s how it will look; you’ll start with your normal three to five minute warm-up and then five minutes into your workout you do your first interval, one minute of faster walking (or perhaps jogging). At the end of that minute you should be “winded” and ready to slow down. You’ll slow down to your normal exercising speed for the next four minutes and then your fifth minute is another one minute interval. This pattern continues throughout your exercise session. (Read more on intervals).
Get started today! You’ll feel better and your metabolism will be in great shape.
By Greg Landry, M.S., Exercise Physiologist http://www.greglandryfitness.com
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