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Women and Exercise: Bringing Our Metabolism Out of the Toilet

Feb 27, 2008
The fact is, a women's metabolism slows down with age and this begins to happen as early as 25 years of age and the simplified reason for this is the loss of muscle mass and increase in fat. A women's metabolism is ultimately different or slower, because there is less muscle to burn the fat. Some women may even have the same diet and exercise program as they had earlier in life but they begin to gain weight due to the natural changes in physiology and hormones that occur. For many more of us however, this is compounded by the lifestyle changes that occur as we have children and our priorities shift from ourselves to those of our families. In the end the bottom line is a lowered metabolism and a few or a lot of extra pounds.

First of all in layman terms metabolism is the rate your body breaks down and uses the food we ingest into energy for use in the growth, repair, and general function of your body. When there is too much of a deficit between the foods we eat and what our bodies needs to function the metabolism slows; muscle and fat reserves are used. Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in our body, for every pound of muscle a woman loses the number of calories she burns decreases by as many as 50 per day. Fat burns nothing; it just sits there hanging out, literally. Therefore, the amount of lean body mass you have is an important factor in determining the rate at which you burn calories.

We are spending billions of dollars each year on a quick fix solution to our expanding waist lines however the fundamental principles remain the same: don't do time-wasting exercises or follow non-sense diets that do not contribute to your desired result. The only way too naturally increase your metabolism is through exercise however just three 20-minute strength training sessions per week will help you shed approximately 15 pounds over the course of a year without changing anything else. This works because you do not need huge hulking muscles (which are impossible to naturally get) in order to see the benefits of an increased metabolism. It is also a misconception that you have to spend time in a gym to achieve these results, working your muscles does not have to be a complicated or time consuming endeavor. You can do many types of resistance training exercises in your own home, such as using a balance ball, doing leg lunges, or using hand weights.

It is generally believed that for women a regiment of weight training should involve higher repetitions with light to moderate weight. Higher repetition means 15 to 20 while light to moderate means only light enough to ensure that you are able to keep your proper form and complete range of motion. If you are able to easily achieve this then adding a little more weight would be appropriate.

Last but not least, working out with weights is not only an important weight loss tool but also a bone loss preventive activity. The health benefits from working out are numerous and just the fact that weight training gives your body natural stress relief due to all the endorphins that you are releasing while you are working out, makes it a powerful mental booster as well (who does not like to be happy).

Typically low calorie diets wreak havoc on your metabolism and amount of muscle loss is substantial. For many individuals it is beneficial to use a calorie counter to monitor their calorie intake. One of the biggest problems for women is that they under estimate the number of calories they are actually ingesting during the day. For this reason it has been proven that individuals who document there food intake on a daily basis have a better understanding about what and how much they are actually putting into their mouths.

It does not take a lot of time to become familiar with the nutritional values and the calorie content of foods when you spend a certain amount of time activity seeking the information. There are endless numbers of diet programs out their and everyone claims they have the answers. It is important to not get overwhelmed with an eating plan.

If you can make small changes, focusing on a balance of all your food groups and ensuring that you are getting all of your recommended serving of fruit and vegetables you will be well on your way. The number one problem for most individuals is the lack of fruits and vegetables in their diets. The other important thing to remember is that it is necessary to incorporate lean proteins into your diet because these are necessary for your body to build muscle.

The most important thing to remember is that a combination of exercise and a healthy diet are the key to not only weight loss but ultimately your health. For long term overall health it is necessary to incorporate both into your lifestyle. Neither part of the puzzle should be stressful and does not need to be confusing, make small changes and have fun.
About the Author
Christine Erickson writes articles relating to women's health and their endless struggle with weight loss. To learn more visit her at: http://exerciseforwomen-christine.blogspot.com or http://squidoo.com/women-exercise
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