Working out can in fact increase your metabolism, but a slow metabolism is rarely the main cause of weight gain, according to MayoClinic.com. So, the link between body weight and metabolism is a bit more complicated than you may think. To put it simply, exercise offers a slew of health benefits, and boosting metabolism is just one of these.
What Is Metabolism?
Metabolism is your body’s calorie-burning engine. It’s the process by which your body turns food and drink into energy. Up to 75 percent of the calories your body burns each day are for basic bodily functions, like breathing, digesting food and circulating blood. This is referred to as your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. The other calories you burn throughout the day include those burned during exercise, and the more exercise your do, the more calories you burn.
A 2011 study published in the journal "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" examined the effects of a 45-minute vigorous workout on metabolism. The results showed the exercise helped elevate metabolism for a period of 14 hours after the exercise was done. In all, the participants burned an average of 519 calories during the workout and an additional 190 calories 14 hours after the workout was completed. This indicates exercise -- in this case vigorous exercise -- is effective at boosting metabolism. The exercise used in this experiment was cycling.
Best Exercise for Boosting Metabolism
From a calorie-burning standpoint, aerobic exercises are the best way to go. This would include jogging, cycling, swimming, inline skating, aerobics and elliptical training. Weight training is more effective for long-term metabolism boosting. As your body builds strength and muscle, it becomes more efficient at burning calories. So, a muscular person naturally burns more calories than a person with less muscle and more body fat.
Getting Your Metabolism in Check
Unless you have a metabolism-debilitating disease, such as thyroid disease, you can influence your metabolic rate for the better. First thing to do is determine your BMR using a free online BMR calculator from a reputable health website. Your doctor can also help with this. Your BMR can help determine approximately how many calories your body needs each day, as well as how many calories your body expends every day. You can then design a healthy diet and exercise program to best suit your fitness goals, such as weight loss, weight maintenance or strength gaining.
Joseph Eitel has written for a variety of respected online publications since 2006 including the Developer Shed Network and Huddle.net. He has dedicated his life to researching and writing about diet, nutrition and exercise. Eitel's health blog, PromoteHealth.info, has become an authority in the healthy-living niche. He graduated with honors from Kellogg Community College in 2010 with an Associate of Applied Science.