Anyone who's ever struggled with weight loss has found herself, at one time or another, wishing she could just speed up her metabolism to shed those pounds faster. While a slow metabolism may not be responsible for weight gain, boosting your body's metabolic rate can definitely help you trim fat. Running in place is a simple way to help boost your metabolism, especially when you don't have access to a treadmill or weather doesn't permit you to run outside. This, along with a healthy diet, can help your body's energy machine run more efficiently so you can lose weight more easily.
How Metabolism Works
Your metabolism is in charge of converting calories to energy. This energy is used for all of the body's processes, like breathing, heart and organ functioning, food digestion and supplying energy to the muscles for physical movement. Your metabolism uses the calories you eat as well as stored calories, in the form of fat, to fuel these processes. A faster metabolism burns calories quicker and usually results in less body fat. However, age, sex and body size can influence your metabolism. Muscle composition also plays a role in how fast your body burns calories; the more muscle you have, the more calories your body has to burn to fuel them.
Running in Place
Your body burns calories based on the amount of physical activity you do. So getting in some cardio can definitely help you boost your metabolic process. Running in place for 30 minutes a day can help efficiently burn calories and shed pounds. A 160-pound person can burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes running at a pace of 5 mph, according to Mayo Clinic, and even more if you pick up the pace. Running in place can burn just as many calories as running outside or on a treadmill as long as you put in the same effort and elevate your heart rate the same amount. For vigorous exercises like running, your target heart rate should be at about 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Using a heart-rate monitor while running in place will let you know if you're reaching this goal.
You can also increase the intensity of running in place by including intervals. Intervals help burn even more calories as you increase your effort and elevate your heart rate. While running in place, try including bursts of sprinting for up to 30 seconds and then return to your normal running speed. Do this several times throughout your session to burn more fat and reduce the amount of time you have to spend working out.
Participating in up to 300 minutes of any aerobic activity a week can give you the same fat-burning results as running in place. So you can also do dancing, jumping jacks or other forms of indoor aerobics if you are stuck inside or don't have access to exercise machines. But don't forget to pump a little iron or resistance tubing while you're at it. You should do strength-training exercises at least twice a week to boost your metabolism as well. Muscles use up more calories than fat, so don't be afraid to add a little muscle to the mix.
Diet and Metabolism
For some, diet can be a four-letter word. But adjusting your diet to help you boost your metabolism and burn fat is not that difficult and can add to benefits of running in place. Make sure you eat breakfast every day, and include simple carbs as well as protein to make the most of your morning meal. This will keep your body from going into starvation mode, which slows your metabolism. Choose protein for lunch to help build muscles, which will suck up calories. Eat foods rich in iron, as iron helps carry oxygen to your muscles to keep your metabolism going. Avoid extra fats and sugars that will add to the calories your body has to burn to lose weight. Finally, make sure you drink eight to 12 8-ounce glasses of water each day; this can increase your metabolic rate more than when you're dehydrated.
- Mayo Clinic: Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories
- Health.com: Best Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
- Women's Health: How to Increase Metabolism
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Target Heart Rate and Estimated Maximum Heart Rate
Based in the Los Angeles area, Brandi Junious specializes in health-related articles. Her writing reflects her expertise in fitness and education. Junious is the author of children's book "A World Without Trees" and her work has appeared on Modern Mom, The Nest Woman, Chron Healthy Living and at Loseweightandlivehealthy.blogspot.com. Junious holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Southern California and a master's degree in Education.