We all know that exercise has many benefits, especially for our heart, but we sometimes forget that exercise keeps our metabolism revved up. Incorporating exercise into your weekly routine will help with your metabolism, but there are some exercises that can give your metabolism more of a boost than others.
How Metabolism Works
To benefit from metabolism boosting exercises, you should first know how your metabolism works. The metabolism is the process where the body converts the foods you eat and the liquids you drink into energy, according to MayoClinic.com. The calories in your beverages and food are then combined with oxygen in the body and release energy for the body to use in its everyday functioning. The number of calories your body uses up in order to maintain functioning is your basal metabolic rate or BMR. There are many determining factors that contribute to your BMR. Your body composition and size contribute to your BMR, meaning those who are larger or have more muscle will burn more calories. Men have less body fat and tend to carry more muscle than women their same age and weight, so they burn more calories. Your age is another contributing factor to your BMR and as you get older you tend to carry more fat and less muscle on your body, which lessens your caloric burn.
A surefire way to boost your metabolism, is to put more muscle on your body. You lose muscle mass every year after the age of 35, according to Forbes.com. It’s important to maintain what muscle you have left and to build more lean muscle mass to rev up your metabolism, even while your body is at rest. Include strength training and resistance training two to three times per week. Choose exercises that engage your main muscle groups, including the arms, chest, back, shoulders, abdominals, glutes and legs. During your workouts consider lifting two to three sets with eight to 12 reps per set of each exercise for optimal results.
Boosting your metabolism might take more than a walk in the park. Consider performing high intensity interval training or HIIT. This combines repeated movements with high effort periods followed by periods of recovery. The amount of calories you burn with HIIT is equivalent to a longer low-intensity cardio session that lasts almost twice as long, according to Men’s Fitness. You can incorporate HIIT training to normal cardio workouts such as running, biking or rowing, but the effort you put forth with these exercises will be different. For example, start on a bicycling at an almost full effort speed, such as an eight on a one to 10 effort scale. Do this for 30 seconds and follow with a recover period, effort of three out of 10, for 90 seconds. This is a two minute interval. Repeat nine more intervals for a short 20 minute workout that burns major calories.
Circuit training is a little different than HIIT, in that you incorporate strength training and resistance moves, but you also challenge your heart and lungs to work harder by including cardio exercises. Choose a handful of strength moves and also include cardio exercises for your circuit workout. According to Military.com, a great circuit workout includes one minute of the following exercises: squats, push-ups, pull-ups, military press, lunges, bicep curls and tricep extensions. Throughout the workout include three minutes of biking or jogging and two minutes of both sit-ups and crunches.
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.