My grandmother, who passed away at the age of 102, came to visit me at the young age of 90. I remember distinctly walking with her into a building with several flights of stairs. As we approach the stairs, she looks at me with a grin and says, “I’ll race you!” and she takes off up the stairs. I am not expecting all of us to be that agile at the age of 90 if we make it to that age. Without knowing it, my grandmother was revving up her metabolism and taking care of some cardio.
Here are five ways to rev up your metabolism:
1. Do not cut too many calories
If you reduce your caloric intake too low which would be less than 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, your body will respond by slowing your metabolism. Your metabolism may slow by as much as 45%. Furthermore, you will be losing lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is a calorie burner.
2. Eat Breakfast
About 50% of those who are overweight do not eat breakfast. Your best bet is to eat a high fiber carbohydrate such as oatmeal. Add some raisins, fresh or frozen fruit and ground flax seed and you've got a great combination of carbs, good fats and protein.
3. Eat Frequently and Drink Water
Eating frequently can keep your metabolism going. You should eat about five to six times a day. That does not mean you have to have a prepared meal that frequently. A snack of an apple, banana or yogurt counts as one of those meals. If you allow your body to go without food for more than four hours, your metabolism will slow. This may cause you to overeat or eat unhealthy choices because you have starved your body. Stay hydrated and make water your beverage of choice. Drink lots of water.
4. Interval Training
Interval training is any type of exercise that causes the heart rate to go up briefly followed by a break. This is done multiple times to get the heart rate up and then bring it back down. Some of you will think that interval training is just for athletes. That's not true. Regardless of your fitness level you can conduct a form of interval training when walking or jogging. Listen to your body so that you don't overdo it and consult your physician to make sure you are medically cleared. For example, when going for a walk, pick that park bench or telephone pole about 100 yards or less from your starting position and simply pick up the pace to the point feel like you have increased exertion and you find yourself huffing and puffing. Once you cross the finish line, slow your pace and slow your breathing from two to 5 minutes. Then do it again. Do this 3 to 8 times depending on your fitness level and you will burn more calories and increase your cardiovascular conditioning.
5. Strength Training
Strength training will increase your metabolism because muscle, especially muscles that are exercised, burn more calories. Include muscle endurance training as well. Muscle endurance is the ability of a muscle to work continuously under fatigue. That is a healthy muscle.
YOUR ACTION PLAN:
Incorporate interval training into your workouts 2 to 3 times per week and start eating 5 to 6 times a day. Have healthy snacks available so you don't get caught slowing your metabolism by not eating frequently enough.