Boost Your Metabolism

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Date Submitted: 09/26/2011 05:21 PM

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Boost your metabolism

Eston Dunn

You've blamed your metabolism for your weight your whole life, right? Well, as you get older, your metabolism really does make it difficult to burn calories as efficiently as you did when you were younger.

Metabolism is the amount of calories you burn at rest, or the amount of energy your body uses to function. The average 30-year-old woman burns 1,150 to 1,250 calories daily, while the average 30-year-old man uses 1,600 calories. After age 30, your metabolism slows down. The drop is slight - only half a percent a year - but it adds up. Continue to eat the way you did in your 20's, and you'll be consuming more calories than your body can use. Those extra calories become fat.

Menopause, extreme dieting or inactivity can slow the calorie burn even more. The good news is you can rev up your metabolism. The best way is to exercise. Any activity, from washing dishes to running a marathon, speeds up the rate at which you burn calories. Not only does the exercise itself burn calories, but a good workout creates muscle, which burns calories more quickly than any other tissue.

A University of Maryland at Baltimore study showed that after a 16-week strength-training programme, the resting metabolic rate of healthy 50- to 65-year-old men jumped 7.7 percent. And a University of Colorado study found that post-menopausal women who regularly swam or ran for at least 45 minutes five days a week maintained the same resting metabolic rate as younger, pre-menopausal women.

Here are some simple tips on how to crank up your internal flame:

• Don't overdo calorie cutting. Putting yourself on a very low-calorie diet is a surefire way not to lose weight. Your body is programmed to defend your usual weight. So if you suddenly drop 1,000 calories from your diet, your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns to maintain basic bodily functions) will automatically slow down, because your body now assumes that you're starving.