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How aerobic workouts will boost your metabolism for hours after you stop working out.

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Everyone knows that metabolism is the secret to weight loss, as it is responsible for the amount of calories the body burns as energy. In order to understand how aerobic exercise provides long lasting benefits, one needs to understand exactly what metabolism is and how it is affected by aerobic exercise.

METABOLISM

The body’s metabolism is actually comprised of three different parts:

  • RMR – This is your resting metabolic rate. It is the amount of energy that your body uses to carry out normal bodily functions. Your RMR uses about 60% of the calories consumed each day.
  • TEF – Your thermic effect of food is the quantity of calories eaten that the body uses to digest your food, which is about 10% of your daily caloric intake.
  • TEA – The thermic effect of activity uses about 30% of your daily calorie intake and is the amount of calories that your body burns when moving around and working out.

As you age, your metabolism begins to slow down, with most adults experiencing a decrease of at least 10% every 10 years; however, those who work out regularly and get plenty of exercise can minimize that loss to only 0.3% over a 10-year period.

AEROBIC EXERCISE

Aerobic, or cardio, exercise is any type of movement that causes an increase in both breathing and heart rate; however, these increases have to be at a rate that is sustainable for an entire 30- to 60-minute session. If you are exercising to the point where you can only do short bursts before running out of breath, that is anaerobic exercise and does not provide the same benefits as an aerobic workout.

METABOLISM BOOST

Those who make it a point to add aerobic exercise to their weight loss or maintenance program not only improve their cardiovascular health; they also increase their metabolism. The best way to do this is by making sure to include at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day—and it doesn’t have to be all at once. As long as you are able to get your heart rate pumping in some way for a total of 30 minutes, you will reap the benefits.

When you take part in moderate intensity exercise, you are forcing your muscles to work harder, requiring your body to burn energy to keep those muscles going (the TEA mentioned above); however, your muscles will still need energy after your workout while they are repairing themselves. The result is an increase in metabolism that can extend for as long as a few days. You can also increase how long your muscles continue to use energy by alternating the intensity, length and frequency of your cardio sessions, as you engage different muscles for each type of exercise.

Aerobic exercise provides many benefits beyond a healthy heart and lungs. If you are serious about losing weight and keeping it off, make sure you add aerobic exercise to your weight loss program.

By Dr. Alberto Campbell

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