Exercising speeds up your metabolism during your workout, regardless of the type of exercise you choose. That’s because your body has to work harder when you exercise than when you're at rest. Some exercises, though, will speed up your metabolism more rapidly and for longer periods of time than others. Intense exercises such as sprinting, for example, will burn more calories in the long run than more moderate exercises such as jogging.
Calories Burned During Exercise
Minute by minute, you’ll burn more calories sprinting than you will jogging. A 140-pound person will burn 9 calories running at a pace of 5 mph and 24 calories sprinting at a pace of 12 mph. But while it’s obvious that in that minute you’ll elevate your metabolism and burn more calories sprinting, this calculation is deceiving. Most people can only sprint for very short periods of time, while they can sometimes jog for hours. Depending on how long you jog, you’ll keep your metabolism increased and burn more calories while jogging than while sprinting.
When considering which exercise is a better option, you have to look at how it affects your metabolism after your workout ends. Because sprinting is so intense, your body develops an oxygen deficit during the exercise. Your metabolism then has to stay raised after the exercise is over to restore the oxygen to your bloodstream. This is referred to as EPOC or "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption." This so-called after-burn is minimal after exercises with lower intensities such as jogging but becomes significant with exercises of high intensity.
EPOC and Calories
EPOC is what makes sprinting the clear winner in the metabolism boosting race. A 2012 study conducted at Colorado State University found that just 2.5 minutes of sprinting raised subjects' metabolism and burned an extra 200 calories after the exercise ended. Another study published in the September 2011 edition of the journal "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" found that EPOC can keep your metabolism raised for 14 hours. Considering the after-burn after longer periods of jogging is minimal, sprinting emerges as the long-term better option for boosting your metabolism.
Since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to sprint for longer than even one minute at a time, you can use intervals to incorporate sprinting into your workouts. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, involves sprinting for short bursts followed by longer periods of recovery. According to the American Council on Exercise, a typical HIIT session begins with a five- to 10-minute warm-up, followed by up to 10 or 12 sprint intervals. The intervals consist of one minute of sprints followed by two to three minutes of active recovery such as walking.
- Fitness Magazine: Small Changes, Big Results
- Healthstatus.com: Calories Burned Calculator
- Sports Medicine: Effect of Exercise Intensity, Duration and Mode on Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption
- Science Daily: Minutes of Hard Exercise Can Lead to All-Day Calorie Burn
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: A 45-Minute Vigorous Exercise Bout Increases Metabolic Rate for 14 Hours
- American Council on Exercise: What Is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and What Are the Benefits?
Andrea Chrysanthou began writing professionally in 1993. Her work has been published internationally by "The Cyprus Mail," MochaSofa and My Favorite Trainer, among other magazines and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in journalism from Ryerson University. Chrysanthou is a certified fitness instructor and personal-training specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the fitness industry.