Metabolism is the term for your body’s work to convert food into energy; not just the energy that sustains you through a busy day, but the type of energy that ensures your body is getting the nutrients it needs in an efficient manner.
There are two activities involved in metabolism: catabolism, which is the breaking down of complex molecules in food into smaller ones more easily absorbed in digestion; and anabolism, which involves the changing of small molecules into larger ones so that fat and protein can be stored for the body’s future needs.
Weight loss has long been linked to metabolism. The key to losing weight is speeding up the metabolism so that food is broken down and disposed of more quickly and efficiently.
What are some ways to speed up the metabolism?
Exercise is a great way to speed up your metabolism, and the good news is that you don’t need an expensive gym membership, personal trainer, or grueling workouts! Just walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is enough to bump up your calorie-burning.
Because aerobic exercise (continuous exercise such as walking or swimming) burns more calories than anaerobic exercise (such as weight lifting or golf), walking means weight loss. Pop in your headphones, listen to your favorite CD or audio book, and hit the nearest park, lake–or even the streets in your own neighborhood.
2. Light muscle building
Combining walking with light muscle building gives your metabolism a one-two shot in the arm! As you build muscle, you will lose fat. Examples of light muscle building include walking with ankle or arm weights on or lifting light weights after you walk. Use a resistance band to build muscles in arms and legs.
An exercise ball is excellent for building abdominal and back muscles. Last but not least, you can try some good old fashioned sit-ups and push-ups! If you are a gym member, do a rotation of the weight machines after you use the treadmill or elliptical.
It may sound remarkable, but using spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, and mustard can burn calories! That spicy cayenne pepper or hot mustard really does make your body work harder when you sweat; in fact, just a little bit of this spice each day can boost your metabolism by as much as 25%.
Cinnamon gives you more energy because of its role in increasing blood circulation. Ginger helps you utilize oxygen, a key component in calorie burning. Adding just a little bit of these spices into your daily food gives you a tasty edge on calorie-burning.
Because protein takes more energy to digest, it makes your body work harder. It is, therefore, a great food to add to a metabolism-boosting diet. Lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, nuts, seeds, and lowfat dairy foods are good examples.
Various types of protein powders are available to add into milk or smoothies.
Whey protein burns calories more effectively than casein or soy, though the latter may taste better and produce a longer feeling of fullness.
What? Caffeine recommended in an article about health? Yes, it’s true: caffeine boosts your metabolic rate and even burns fat. It does this through raising blood pressure and revving up central nervous system activity. Although the effect is short-lived, lasting just a few hours, schedule your workout during that time and it will be more effective.
Perhaps obviously, black coffee with sugar free sweetener and low/nonfat milk is the preferred choice over venti sized sugar-packed frappucinos.
All in all, boosting metabolism isn’t difficult. None of these tips are expensive, time-consuming, or drastic yet all of them are proven effective to make your body work harder and burn calories faster. Decide to make the adjustments necessary to incorporate them into your daily life, and watch the pounds come off!