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Metabolism (Part III) – What to do? Exercise, Climb Rocks, Play with Dogs

If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2, you have some history to review.  Do not pass until you can tell me how many polar bears it takes to hibernate properly.

Fifth, increase your activity level throughout the day.  Most folks try to get one workout in per day.  That’s fine, but if you’re trying to increase your metabolism you can do a bit more and it’s not that difficult.

  • Exercise Tip #1. Take a walk every 90 minutes.  You will be more effective in everything you do if you recognize that your body is designed to work in 60-120 minutes cycles.  It needs a break from deep mental focus every 90 minutes or so.  I walk a lap or two around my building at work, which takes about 5 minutes.  I strike up conversations with people that I need to see along the way.  When I get back to my desk, I’m recharged, I’m focused, and I’ve increased my metabolism and burned some calories.
  • Exercise Tip #2. Lift weights or lift yourself.  Any workout is better than no workout, but some type of resistance training is key to increasing your metabolism.  Cardio training increases your metabolism substantially for about 1 hour after you exercise.  Resistance training increases your metabolism for about 24 hours after training.  Would you rather increase your metabolism for 1 hour or 24?  You can have both, but you really need resistance training.  In addition, for every 1 pound of muscle you add to your body, you’ll burn an extra 25-50 calories per day without doing anything.  If you add 10 pounds, that’s a slice of cheesecake per day or 250-500 calories per day.  If you don’t like weights, you can do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc.
  • Exercise Tip #3. Try short, high-intensity cardio or interval training.  Steady-state cardio (i.e. walking/running on a treadmill, while watching TV) is okay, but not nearly as effective as a shorter period of high-intensity cardio.  Run sprints, punch a heavy bag non-stop, ride your bike uphill and you will elicit a much stronger metabolic response.  This high-intensity cardio leaves you huffing and puffing, burns more calories, and takes less time.  The real benefits aren’t easily seen.  You’re much more likely to release some happy hormones for your body and brain that will morph you into better shape mentally and physically much quicker.  If you struggle with high-intensity exercise, mix in short bursts of high-intensity cardio.  A sample beginner interval run would be: 20 yd sprint, 100 yd jog, 20 yd sprint, 100 yd jog, and repeat this a couple more times.  As your heart and lungs get stronger you can increase the length of the sprints.
  • Exercise Tip #4. Find an activity that you enjoy.  Try everything: running, biking, swimming, hiking, martial arts, yoga, boxing, weight training, P90X, tennis, basketball, softball, crossfit, rock climbing.  Don’t stop searching until you find an activity that you really enjoy.  It will make exercise much easier.  Remember, you rarely feel perfect the first time you try something.  You’re not good at it yet and no one else was good at it their first time either.  You’re probably out of breath, sore, tired, and possibly injured.  If you can manage to smile, try it again.  It will be easier and more fun.
Rock climbing
Rock climbing
  • Exercise Tip #5. Go outside.  Find opportunities to get outdoors.  Exercise isn’t exercise outside.  It’s fun!  It feels like being a kid again.  Take your kids or dog to the park.  I throw the ball to my dog outside every night.  Everything is peaceful and quiet.  He’s happy.  I’m happy.  We both get out outside time and a little bit of extra exercise.  Anytime you hear of something interesting going on outdoors, mark it down and do it.  It will feel good.
Paddy in the snow
Paddy in the snow

Sixth, don’t try all this at once.  Some folks need to jump into the deep end of the pool with a cannonball.  Most will be better off one toe or appendage at a time.  Pick a nutrition tip and an exercise tip and start there.  Change is made in small steps.  Once you’ve developed a good habit, make the habit stronger or pick a new habit to develop.  You have plenty of time to savor the journey.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

-Maria Robinson

Visualize a new ending for yourself and take the first step on that path.