Regular exercise boosts your metabolism, which increases your energy. Aerobic exercise also curbs hunger and decreases an appetite that's too big. All these factor into losing weight, improving your physical health and appearance and helping you feel great about yourself. In addition to exercise, a healthy diet with foods and drinks that boost your metabolism will help you get results faster.
Do high-intensity interval training. Do regular aerobic exercise, but increase your intensity for 30- to 90-second intervals every five minutes or so. For example, jog or run at your normal speed for five minutes, then sprint for 30 to 90 seconds -- depending on your fitness level -- then repeat that five times. You could also swim or cycle. Do a high-intensity interval training session twice each week.
Get aerobic exercise on days you're not doing high-intensity interval training. According to Science Daily, aerobic exercise lowers calorie intake in overweight and obese people, according to a study by A. Veronica Araya, M.D., at the University of Chile Clinical Hospital. That's because changes in the central nervous system during aerobic exercises will suppress the appetite.
Strength train twice a week. Go to the gym and do weight resistance exercises such as lifting free weights, using machine weights, or doing crunches, pushups and other exercises that use your body weight as resistance. Building muscle increases your metabolism. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at all times, whether you're active or resting.
Add more foods to your diet that are rich in omega-3s. They boost your metabolism by balancing your blood sugar and reducing inflammation. These foods include some types of fish, such as salmon and tuna; flaxseeds and flaxseed oil; chia seeds and walnuts. You could also take a daily omega-3 supplement, but foods rich in omega-3 are good for your health and are high in protein, which keeps you full longer.
Drink hot or iced green tea every day to increase your metabolism and your energy levels. According to "Health" magazine, an active ingredient called catechin may be responsible for boosting metabolism because it increases your body's energy production. Also, the caffeine gives you an energy boost that can be a good start for an active day.
Eat protein-rich foods in every meal, since protein keeps you full longer. Choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains instead of simple carbs.
- People who are not fit benefit just as much from 30 minutes of slower walking as fit people get from 30 minutes of intense exercise. That's why it's OK to start slow and important to be patient. If an exercise feels hard, it's challenging your body, so don't let it make you feel bad about yourself. Gradually build up to doing 30 minutes of exercise five days of the week. Increasing your intensity too fast could lead to burnout or injury.
Lindsay Haskell enjoys writing about fitness, health, culture and fashion. She is a contributor for "Let's Talk Magazine" and "The Wellesley News." Haskell is completing her B.A. in philosophy at Wellesley College. She's also a fiction writer whose work can be read online.