- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Boosting Your Metabolism for Heart Health
Is there is a magic formula that will increase your ability to burn calories by speeding up your metabolic rate and improving your heart health?
Metabolism is scientifically defined as the sum total of all biochemical processes that take place in the body. Most people understand metabolism as "how quickly or slowly the body burns calories". Metabolic rate refers to the rate at which the body performs its biochemical processes, one of which is calorie burning.
The body continually burns calories to perform biochemical processes such as powering the lungs, brain and heart, pumping blood through the circulatory system, maintaining hormone production, etc., but it also requires energy to fuel physical activity and to absorb, metabolize and store nutrients in the body.
The magic formula for increasing the body's ability to burn calories is physical activity. Exercise utilizes the muscle system, building muscles and making them strong. All of the body's systems benefit from movement, but muscle is important to burning calories.
Muscle tissue, also called lean body mass, is more metabolically active than fat tissue. This means that even when the body is at rest, muscles use up more calories. A fit person has a higher proportion of muscle mass to fat mass than a sedentary person, even if both people are the same age, sex, and the same height and weight.
Gender, age make a difference
Age and gender play a role in metabolic rate. Women have a higher ratio of fat to lean body mass. That does not mean that women are unable to increase muscle mass; however, a woman's body stores more fat than a man's. The reason women need more fat is to support the growth and birth of children.
As the body ages, metabolic rate slows down. Between the ages of 30 and 90, the body's metabolic rate decreases by 20 percent. This is most often because people become less active with age, causing a decrease in muscle mass. Because lean body mass generates a higher metabolic rate, it is important to stay physically active throughout life.
Building muscle mass
Weight lifting and marathon training sessions are not necessary to build stronger muscles. Spending ten to fifteen minutes, twice weekly, on strength training is enough to create noticeable changes in muscle mass.
Remember that each person's body responds differently to exercise. Don't be discouraged if it takes you longer to see the results you seek. Positive changes in energy and strength will be evident before you can see changes in your muscles. Lifting a bag of groceries, a child, or dog food will become easier as you strengthen your muscles.
Strengthening your heart
Don't forget that the heart is a muscle. Condition and strengthen your heart with cardiovascular exercise. As you become more fit, your energy level will remain high when adding mileage to your daily walk, run or biking session. These forms of activity are great for building muscle in the lower body and strengthening the heart.