Increasing Your Metabolism
Metabolism refers to the physical and chemical processes that occur in the body which keep us functioning normally in order to stay alive. To carry out these processes, our body converts energy from the food we eat. If we eat and drink more kilojoules than we need for our metabolism and exercise, we store it mostly as fat. Most of your metabolism is out of your control, but you can make it work for you when you exercise.
Your metabolism is influenced by your age, gender, muscle-to-fat ratio, the food you eat and physical activity. The more muscle mass you have the greater your metabolism and the more energy you will burn. Muscle mass is higher in men, which is why their metabolism is higher compared to women. Muscle mass declines with age, thus the reason why young people have higher metabolisms than older people. I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying: “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. Regular exercise can reduce the loss of muscle mass which comes with ageing and resistance or strength training has been shown to increase muscle mass.
Here are a few ways to increase your energy expenditure:
- Get off the bus a few stops further from your office and walk the rest of the way.
- Walk to your work colleague’s desk instead of phoning or emailing him/her.
- Use the stairs instead of escalators and lifts.
- You know that you should be drinking 8 glasses or 2 litres of water each day. When you’re at work, use a small glass so that you take regular walks to fill your glass up. It also gives you a break from staring at the computer screen.
- Vacuum and mop as often as possible.
- Put a Wiggles DVD on and dance with the kids.
- When you’re going for walks, find some steps and go up and down them a few times before heading home.
- Go to the park and do exactly what the kids do.
- Meet up with friends to do some exercise. Take turns at being the “trainer”.
- If you’re meeting friends for a coffee, find a cafe that you can all walk to.
- When you’re out shopping, park your car further away from the shops entrance.
- Get up early and walk somewhere to watch the sunrise.
- Cycle as much as you can instead of driving, especially on weekends when there is less traffic.
- Spend time in the backyard and do some gardening. Dig a hole and fill it back up…for no particular reason.
- Learn how to dance.
- Commit to (and train for) a fun run and raise money for a charity.
- Instead of just sitting on the sidelines when your kids are playing sport, walk around the field or pace up and down the sidelines.