Your metabolism is like an engine that burns fuel to give you energy. The faster your metabolism, the more energy you burn, which usually results in weight loss or weight maintenance, depending on the number of calories you eat every day and how active you are. The speed of the body's metabolism is determined by gender, age, health, diet and exercise. While you can't change your gender or your age, you can increase your metabolism with regular exercise and a healthful diet.
Do heart pumping aerobic exercise for 150 to 300 minutes a week. For weight loss, the Centers of Disease Control recommends doing 300 minutes weekly, which is equal to 60 minutes, five days a week. Any exercise that gets your heart rate up will improve metabolism. Fun options include recreational sports, Zumba, gym classes, outdoor running and inline skating.
Do muscle building exercises twice a week. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body uses even while you are resting, which means a faster metabolism. You don't need to become a body builder to benefit from weightlifting. Basic exercises with low-to-moderate resistance such as squats, push-ups, biceps curls and bicycle crunches are effective.
Keep busy. The more your body moves, the more energy it needs. Walking instead of riding, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and doing other physical activities burn energy to speed up metabolism.
Count calories. Balance your food intake so you don't gain weight, but don't eat too little that your metabolism slows down. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends women have at least 1,200 calories a day. Choose healthy foods such as lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Add some spice. The "American Society for Clinical Nutrition" reports that hot peppers and chilies have capsaicin, which increases energy burn and boosts your metabolism.
Drink some caffeinated coffee. A study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" showed that drinking caffeinated coffee increased metabolism. However, avoid coffee products that are high in sugar and fat if your goal is to speed up metabolism for weight loss. You don't want the added calories from them.
- Talk with your doctor before changing your exercise routine or diet.
Leslie Truex has been telecommuting and freelancing since 1994. She wrote the "The Work-At-Home Success Bible" and is a career/business and writing instructor at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Truex has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Willamette University and a Master of Social Work from California State University-Sacramento. She has been an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified fitness instructor since 2001.