You exercise more control over your metabolic rate through physical activity than by any other means. When you increase your physical activity, you raise your metabolic rate significantly.
According to the Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide (a listing of more than 600 activities and their expected calorie burn), an individual weighing approximately 140 pounds blasts through 570 calories during an hour of vigorous cross-country skiing, 320 calories per hour of low-impact aerobic dancing and 210 calories for 60 minutes of walking at three miles per hour.
Planned exercise isn't the only way to boost metabolic rate. Additional energy is used for just about any non-exercise activity, such as wiggling your foot, unloading the dishwasher, or washing your face.
Stuck in traffic? Sit up straight and pull your stomach muscles in - imagine bringing your belly button as close to your spine as possible. Hold for as long as you can; relax and repeat. This improves posture while working back and stomach muscles.
If you sit all day, bear in mind that all movement counts. Bounce your knee, drum your fingers, tap your toe or squirm in your chair. Research shows that on-going fidgeting burns extra calories every day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get at least 39 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity nearly every day. But, there is now good news: What you are already doing counts for both exercise and calorie burning! The CDC says, "moderate" housework is an acceptable form of exercise. This includes inside activities such as scrubbing floors, washing windows and moving light furniture. Outside work such as washing your car, mowing your lawn and gardening also is good.
When researchers examined 10 obese and 10 lean sedentary individuals, they found that the lean participants were in an upright position doing daily activities for about 152 minutes longer each day than the obese individuals. They reported in an issue of Science that such non-exercise movement equaled about 350 calories - about the same amount of calories burned in an hour of low-impact aerobic dancing or consumed in one glazed, cream filled donut.
Your muscle mass also drives your metabolic engine.
As we age, we lose muscle mass, giving us a slower metabolism. Lifting weights slows this loss and even builds more muscle. Is weight training more important than aerobic exercise?
Fit people do both.
Quick At-Home Exercise Routine
Here are a few suggestions for some exercises you can do at home. The best part about exercising at home is that you can do these exercises even while you watch television. No need to give up your favorite programs to get active, just get on the floor and try this workout:
- Jumping Jacks: 1 minute
- Squats: 15 to 20 times
- Push-Ups: As many as you can
- Jog in place making your foot hit your butt: 1 minute
- Superman: Lay flat on the floor on stomach with hands stretched out to the side. Lift legs and chest off the floor and hold for 30 seconds; do 15 to 20 times
- High Knees: jog in place lifting your knees as high as you can for 1 minute
- Lunges: feet flat on the floor, step forward with alternating feet 15 to 20 times
- Torso Rotation/Twists: 20 times each direction
- Side Bends/Reaches: 20 times each direction
- Wall Sit: Squat against a wall with your back flat on the wall; sit as long as you can hold it
You may also find of interest...
- Exercise: Guidelines to Getting Started
- Muscle Strengthening Activities: What Counts?
- Aerobic activity: What Counts?
- Endorphins: Opiate-Like Effects
Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.