- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
At Last! 5 Proven Ways To Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Weight Fast
Weeds might not be such a bad thing.
Everyone knows the hunky gardener image - the buff gardener, hosing down a patch of grass and moving sacks of soil. Yet is there a logical explanation to the chiseled physique that Hollywood appropriates for its well-toned pictures of agricultural manliness?
Weeds are the ever-present bane of the green patch of foliage known as a lawn. Much like the extra pounds we find conveniently imposing themselves on our waists, they sprout out in the most unfashionable of places. Fortunately, taking them out kills two birds with a single proverbial stone.
While the activity of gardening may seem as remote from the preconceived notion of going to the gym as possible, a close examination of the activity wields many comparisons to more intensive and dedicated forms of exercise.
First of all, weeding a garden involves squatting, walking and engaging many core muscles in order to maintain balance. Each time you attempt to remove a weed, you must squat down to a low enough position (which is recommended instead of bending over, which could cause back strain) and pull out the offending growth. After which, you stand up to discard the weed in a suitable container. This will be repeated numerous times in the span of weeding an entire garden.
The repetitive squatting and standing is actually an effective form of exercise that engages large muscle groups such as the legs and core muscles (which will be engaged in order to maintain balance in a squatting position). Large muscles (such as those in the quadriceps femoris found in the thigh) require more energy in order to operate; as such, squatting and balancing are high caloric activities that have the potential to burn more calories than simple bicep curls and sit ups, which deal with comparatively small muscles in focused exercises.
In fact, squatting engages many muscles simultaneously, specifically, the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis while the gluteus maximus, the adductor magnus and the soleus are also in motion, assisting the quadriceps femoris. All the while, your hamstrings, gastrocnemius and erector spinae muscles are stabilizing your body as you lower yourself or straighten up from a squat. (Seeley, Principles of Anatomy. 2009)
It comes to follow, therefore, that weeding a garden, while being both recreational and relaxing (Cheng, 2010), can burn up to 315 calories per hour assuming a body weight of 70kg. The amount of caloric consumption increases with a person’s weight as the energy to sustain constant motion in a heavier person is higher.
Get some exercise while cultivating greener surroundings by doing some do it yourself gardening. Hollywood has gotten something right after all; hunky gardeners are toned and fit for a reason.
Walking slowly is bad for you.
Walking. We all have to do it. As much as most people would like to avoid this inescapable activity, at the very least, the average person walks 3,000 to 5,000 steps per day.
And what better way to fight those extra calories then by taking advantage of this fact?
The secret to burning calories while doing this everyday task is in the speed at which you do it. Normally, walking at a speed of 2.0 mph will consume 175 calories per hour. This equates to roughly 1.25 calories per minute of walking. However, picking up the pace to around 4.0mph or more can burn up to twice that amount, a whopping 350 calories per hour, something very similar in calorie count to jogging.
What’s even better is the fact that brisk walking, unlike jogging, is less strenuous and tiring while at the same time still an excellent form of aerobic exercise.
The benefits don’t stop there.
Even small quick power walks can add up in the course of the day and equal a significant amount of exercise and calorie consumption without you even realizing it. By simply walking faster to the car, the bathroom or even the kitchen, power walking saves time while burning twice the amount of calories and serving as a cardiovascular workout.
Not only is it doable in all situations and at all times, but power walking may be more powerful than it seems.
In a 1998 study on the effect of short bouts of brisk walking in improving aerobic fitness and blood lipid profiles, people who practiced brisk walking for as little as 4 months showed significant increases in fitness levels and endurance. (Woolf-May et al. 1998) Furthermore, in another study, brisk walking was shown to increase physical activity, health benefits and weight loss in as little as eight weeks (Serwe et al., 2011).
So, the next time you find yourself slowing down on the way to the fridge, walk a little faster, and burn those extra calories gained from the snack IN the fridge.
Parking Far Away
Before you get behind the wheel.
Everyone tries to get that parking spot nearest to the door/elevator/stairs (if you’ve read that previous article). Some people even spend countless minutes circling around trying to find the nearest parking spot possible.
Yet what if we tried to get the parking spot that was FARTHEST from the entrance?
Sounds counterintuitive, right?
But what if taking a quick ten minute walk could actually help you lose weight? As simple as it sounds, a ten minute walk could help you burn 30-40 calories. This increases even more if you’re carrying a load such as a bag or some things for work.
Also, some quick exercise before the start of the work day can actually do much more than just help you lose weight. While most people early in the morning feel tired or groggy, that quick 10 minute walk you caught going to the office from your faraway parking space can boost your alertness and energy levels. This is because the exercise that you get from your short trip actually increases the amount of blood and oxygen that your brain receives. This in turn increases your alertness, giving you that fresh and awake feeling when everybody else is feeling sleepy and out of it.
Furthermore, it has been shown that exercise actually increases dopamine levels. Dopamine, also known as the feel good hormone, plays a major role in elevating moods and helping to alleviate symptoms of depression. In a study by Wang et al (2000), aerobic exercise was shown through PET scans to trigger the release of dopamine in the brains of rats post-exercise.
Good ‘ol walking, as it turns out, is better for you than you thought it could be. So, the next time you feel the urge to waste gasoline driving around looking for a “convenient” place to park, just think about all the health benefits you could be receiving by settling for that parking slot no one else wants.
Elevators might do more harm than good.
We’ve all been there, dreading those extra pounds that seem to come from nowhere; the amount of commitment that exercise seemingly entails. What if there was a way to lose weight without even trying? To actually work out while going about your normal everyday routines?
Before 1857, the safest and fastest way to get from one floor to the other was by climbing the stairs. Every day, to go up a flight or two, people would simply walk up or down the stairs and leave the complaining for some other nuisance that would come their way.
Fast forward to today’s day and age where we just press a button for the simplest of tasks. Going up or down a floor instantly means the elevator. It is exactly this kind of attitude that is to blame for those extra pounds. While taking the lift for more than 10 flights of stairs is understandable, especially for those who get winded easily, going down stairs is a much different situation.
Going up a flight of stairs burns an average of 10 calories per minute. And while going down seems like much less work, you also burn an astounding 7 calories per minute.
Initially, this figure may seem minuscule. But stop and think for a second. How many floors do we climb in a day? With two flight of stairs per floor, how many calories could you actually burn by just skipping the elevator?
With this in mind, climbing 10 flights of stairs (which on average takes 5 minutes) will allow you to burn 50 calories. Don’t forget that what comes up, must also go down! That’s a great and easy way to add a little exercise without even trying.
The benefits don’t stop there either! For those really wanting to burn those extra pounds away, consider going up and down 20 flights of stairs or more, something equivalent to going up ten floors. Studies have shown that the effects of vigorous cardiovascular exercise (such as climbing stairs) can actually increase metabolic rates (and keep burning calories) for up to 14 hours (Knab, et al. 2011).
So the next time you make it to the kitchen and remember you’ve left the light on in the bedroom upstairs, man up and climb those steps. With the number of elevator trips you’ll be skipping in a day, you’ll be shedding that extra weight and moving towards a healthier you in no time - without even going anywhere near a gym!
You might regret putting on that extra layer of clothing.
It is the human condition to be eternally discontent. We complain when it’s cold, when it’s hot, when it’s raining and when it’s dry. As the cliché goes, the grass is always greener on the other side.
In our quest to rid the excess flab that has (it may seem) magically appeared on our bellies, comes this little tidbit of information.
Jackets make you fat.
Why, you may ask?
Let us begin with this simple observation.
It is common knowledge that most people begin to gain weight as the cold months start. Partially, this may have roots in our early human ancestors’ need to store up on life-saving energy during a time when our bodies needed more to keep going.
So, how do jackets make you fat?
Temperature regulation eats up a lot of calories.
We humans are warm-blooded creatures. As such, we need to maintain our body temperatures within a baseline of 36.5 to 37.5 degrees Celsius. When we begin to heat up, or cool down, or body activates a process known as thermoregulation. It is a direct result of thermoregulation that we shiver or sweat.
It is because of the process of thermoregulation that shedding that extra layer of clothes can help you shed the extra layer of fat. In order to generate heat, the body has to consume more calories per minute in order to stay warm. This lies in the fact that shivering is an involuntary natural reflex where muscle groups around vital organs begin to shake in an attempt to generate warmth to keep the body within acceptable temperatures.
In fact, it is surprising to learn that the body can burn as much as 400 calories an hour when you skip wearing your jacket. (Clark, 2004)
So the next time it’s chilly outside, bring a jacket, but keep it off until the cold becomes unbearable. You might just lose a couple of extra pounds without even trying.