The body’s metabolic function is a great piece of natural engineering that can empower anybody to lose weight and improve their levels of health, fitness and general well being.
The metabolic system is made up from a complicated combination of hormones and enzymes that act together to not only help to convert ingested food and drink into calories, but that also help to govern how efficiently our bodies use, or burn those calories. So, in terms of our general health, our metabolic systems can be a key factor in determining our weight profile. A sluggish metabolic rate can make it more difficult to lose weight, whereas a higher, active metabolic rate can be a very useful aid in helping to shed unwanted pounds.
“Why is this?” you may ask yourselves, and the startling answer is that not only can a higher metabolic rate burn calories faster, but it also does this when you are at rest, or even asleep. Yes, the dream ticket; lose weight while you are asleep.
Your metabolism is affected by many different things including, you age, your gender, your gene pattern, and your body fat to muscle ratio. Our metabolic rate begins to slow once we reach 40 and thereafter continues to slow by approximately five percent every ten years. As a general rule, men tend to have a higher metabolic rate than women, and this is mainly due to the fact that on average, men have a higher muscle to fat ratio than women do.
Some people have a naturally high metabolic rate whereas others are slower. But don’t despair. If you’re one of the unfortunate people with a lower rate, it is possible to speed it up. How? – By regular aerobic or cardiovascular exercise.
Cardiovascular exercise (popularly known by its abbreviation of “cardio”), and aerobic exercise are pretty much one and the same thing for any confused by the use of both terms. Cardio is essentially working out your heart, lungs, and circulatory system by exercises such as, Running, jogging, walking, cycling, and swimming. A lot of you will recognize these exercises as being aerobic, but strictly speaking they are cardiovascular, but cardio can also include working with weights and resistance type exercises too, and so the term aerobic has been adopted by many to help differentiate between the two types of exercise.
Obesity is very much a worldwide problem in the developed world today, and unfortunately the US heads the league table. So with that fact in mind, and all of the adverse publicity that it generates, it is hardly surprising that weight loss is a high priority on many people’s minds. As we’ve already established, regular cardiovascular exercise is the way to a faster metabolism, which in turn leads to increased weight loss if accompanied by a well balanced, healthy calorie controlled diet.
The curious thing is, that as more of us are introducing a cardio regime into our lifestyles, we are finding that the cardio is becoming and end to a means in itself. Even if and when we have reached our target weight, (if indeed that what it was that prompted us to start in the first place), we still carry on with our cardio.
It becomes a bit like a drug; but a good one; one that increases our health, our stamina, and our overall well being. It even contributes towards a healthier brain because of the way cardio helps to increase our blood circulation.
Sometimes the thought of taking up a cardio regime can be a little unattractive to those who have developed the “couch potato” mentality. At first it may seem a little daunting, but you will soon find that your body adapts to it incredibly quickly if you establish a regular pattern of exercise.
It doesn’t have to be too rigorous either. Obviously than harder you work-out the higher your metabolic rate will become, and the more weight you can lose, but even a relatively gentle work out, providing you get your heart and lung rate up, will benefit you enormously.
The most popular form of cardio exercise: jogging, walking, cycling, and swimming will all increase your lung capacity to accommodate your body’s demand for more oxygen. For those of you who have any joint problems, you will find tat swimming is a great exercise because the water helps to support your weight and you avoid the jarring impact that running, jogging, and walking can have on you hip, knee, and ankle joints.
For those who want to maximize their cardio for increasing their metabolic rates, it is worth throwing in some weight training or resistance exercises. As well as contributing towards raising your MR (metabolic rate) anyway, it also helps to build muscle tissue, and as we mentioned earlier in this text, the more muscle you have, the faster your MR will become, so you will get a double benefit.
Muscle is heavier than fat, but as long as you carry on with your other aerobic exercises too, (jogging, cycling, swimming), and you keep to your healthy well balanced diet, the muscle weight gain will be offset by the fat loss. In actual fact you will probably still continue to lose weight because muscle tissue takes a long time to build and in the meantime you will still be shedding fat.
Cardio has a way of making you want to become more and more fit and healthy. You develop what is called metabolic momentum, and once started it almost takes on a life and demand of its own. However, it is not in any way onerous. It is a pleasure that you will naturally want to extend.
You will eat and drink more healthily, and you will automatically want to cut out many of the rubbish fast foods and toxins that might have crept into your life.
The more you do your cardio exercises, the longer you keep your regime going for, not only does it become easier to do, but you will find it becoming an enjoyable part of the day (or night) that you look forward to and relish.
You will benefit from, and cherish, how well you feel, how fit you become, and how good you look too.
It can genuinely make you look and feel younger.