Your body burns calories to sustain your basic metabolism, which is what your body's engine need to keep you functioning. It includes the energy needed for resting activities such as breathing, sustaining your body temperature, blood circulation and the respiration needed to sustain all the cells in the body.
This metabolic rate is referred to as your basal metabolic rate (when you are lying down) and the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), when you are doing all your normal activities such as walking around the house, going to school or to work each day.
RMR is the minimum amount of energy required to maintain normal bodily functions ( breathing, heart beating, maintaining body temperature, brain function, intestine and kidney function, brain and so on).
Added to this, is the extra metabolism and calories that need to be burnt or consumed in the exercises you do each day, such as walking, running, cycling or swimming.
You can do many things to increase all these components of your metabolism.
Obviously you can burn more calories by going for a walk or a run, but you can be generally more active and it also depends on what you eat and eating patterns throughout the day.
In some ways it is surprising how little you burn even when doing some of these strenuous activities ( see the images below ).
For example to burn off a chocolate shake requires more than an hour of walking and a hamburger more than 90 minutes walking or swimming for an hour.
Some people have higher basal metabolic rates, which cause them to burn calories more quickly. Some people claim that this is why some people remain very thin despite eating huge amounts of food.
As people get older, their metabolism tends to slow down as they lose some muscle mass. Some of this is explained by people becoming more sedentary as they get older, but the basal metabolic rate (non-exercise) also declines.
Fundamentally losing weight is about creating a calorie deficit, that is burning more calories than you eat in food ( see Track Daily Calorie Deficit to Guarantee a Weight Loss Program ).
Obviously your metabolism us part of this. Speeding up your metabolism so you burn calories more quickly, which can help you lose weight, if you don't eat more food and calories.
Increasing the amount you exercise is one way to increase your metabolism, but there are ways to increase the rate at which you burn calories without exercise. This article will focus on these methods.
Sustain and Build Muscle - This is the most significant activity you can take to sustain your metabolic rate while seeking to lose weight. (See: Effective and Fastest Way to Build Muscle )
Strength training stops you from losing muscle mass as well as fat when dieting. If you don't work on your muscles up to a third of your weight lost could be muscle and its loss may mean that your resting metabolic rate will fall. This will make it much harder to lose more weight. Pound for pound, muscle burns about fifty more calories per day than fat, even when resting. A straightforward power training program using weights or resistance bands two or three times a week can restrict your muscle loss to virtually zero, and sustain your resting metabolic rate.
Stay as active as possible - The more you use your muscles, even when 'resting', the higher number of calories you will burn. Try to walk as often as you can, climb the stairs rather than taking the lift. Even moderate-level exercise like walking can burn 3-6 times more calories than burnt sitting still, and high intensity exercise more than 12 times more.
Keep Active when Sitting - Try to keep exercising even when you are watching TV or sitting at your desk, and get up frequently to do a few exercises or go for a brisk walk. See: Pedal While You Work, Exercise at Your Desk, Pedal Power. Try to keep those resistance bands and other equipment nearby for those commercial breaks. Get out of your chair and while watching TV sit on a stability ball, or even a stationary bike. Even fidgeting and flexing your muscles isometrically can help ( see: Build Muscle without Weights | Dynamic Tension Exercises ).
Exercise in the Morning or in Frequent Sessions Throughout the Day - Both power and cardio activities increase metabolism by boosting your calorie consumption even after your work-out is completed. You can get maximum benefit from this by starting each day with a workout and tryig to have multiple sessions throughout the day. Longer or strong workout sessions have a larger "after burn” effect, but even a brisk15-minute stroll several times will make a difference.
Adopt Interval Training Sessions - The harder and more often you workout, the more calories burnt both throughout the training and after it, and your general fitness grade will actually improve so that you will be able to work harder. Exercising as hard as you can, for sessions lasting for more than 10 minutes per day, generates the best results. Interval training is an productive way to boost the power and length of your workouts without overdoing it or increasing the risk of injury.
Make Exercising Fun - Try to make exercising and healthy eating fun and eliminate the grudge. Try new exercises, different ways of doing them, different running routes and new exciting recipes. Work on keeping yourself interested and motivated and include mini-rewards for achieving milestones. The more variety and interest you can build into your exercises and diet programs, the better will be the outcome.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals for the same total calorie plan - If you starve yourself for a number of hours without eating, your metabolism slows down through a 'starvation response'. Eating smaller meals grazing throughout the day helps keep your metabolism steady.
Eat more lean protein - Protein is harder to digest, and yields calories for slowly. Good sources of lean protein are chicken and turkey breast, trimmed beef and pork, fish and egg whites.
Consume coffee and other caffeinated beverages such green tea and energy drinks - Caffeine increases your metabolism, speeds up your beathing and heart rate and boosts performance in training and races. Green tea and other teas contain caffeine.
Eat most of your food earlier in the day - This helps you process and burn the food eaten when you're awake and active and so burns more calories per hour.
Don't starve - Reducing your calorie consumption below 1,000 calories a day may trigger the 'starvation response', that will slow your metabolism. This starvation survival mechanism is designed to allow you to survive during period when food is in short supply. This slow metabolism.
Ensure adequate B group vitamins - These vitamin are required to maintain energy levels in your body. Vitamin B-12 in especially important for energy.
Make sure you have enough sleep - Research has shown that chronic sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain, partially through poor diets, but also because it interferes with normal metabolism. See: Teenage Obesity and Teen Weight Gain Linked to Late Sleeping Patterns
Negative Calorie Foods - The concept that certain foods, such as celery and cabbage, may require more energy to digest and process than they yield when digested is largely a myth. (See Facts about Negative Calorie Foods - Calorie Density is What Matters ). However these high fibre and low calorie foods are good for dieting because they can replace foods with high calorie densities.