Previously we talked about Metabolism in great details. we covered what metabolism is, the factors involved in metabolism, and how we can boost our metabolism. One thing we didn’t get to cover was the effect of exercise on metabolism.

In our society today, it seems like more and more people are drawn toward exercise and being active, which is a very good thing. the wise thing is to get to know how each kind of exercise can effect your body, directly or indirectly. One thing that we know for sure, is that exercise effects our metabolism, since exercise requires energy, and metabolism is the mechanism by which what we eat gets turned into fuel or energy for our body. But their are a few  questions that I would like to answer, how much exercise is too much or is there such a thing? or is there specific kinds of exercise that would speed up metabolism? if yes, what kind? is there a specific time of the day that is more beneficial to exercise in regards to metabolism?

So lets try to answer each of these questions:

How much exercise:

here is a fact about exercise. Exercise is a stressor to our bodies, which means our bodies produces cortisol (a stress hormone ) as a result. Cortisol is a much needed hormone for our bodies. It supports energy metabolism during long periods of exercise by facilitating the breakdown of triglyceride and protein to create the glucose necessary to help fuel exercise. While cortisol helps promote fat metabolism, exercising for too long can elevate levels of cortisol to catabolize muscle protein for fuel instead of conserving it to be used to repair damaged tissues. Elevated cortisol levels can actually decrease your fat metabolism, which winds up impairing insulin sensitivity. Studies have shown that, High cortisol levels are associated with fat-storing, as is being resistant to insulin that controls blood sugar.

The good news is that we can stop elevated cortisol levels from exercising, simply by stopping, but when these elevated cortisol levels are from other physical stressors such as stress from environment, work, family, etc, they are much harder to stop.

So we now know that too much exercise can elevate our cortisol levels and slow our metabolism. Now let’s look at how much exercise is right for our bodies. as I mentioned before, we all are individuals with individual needs and individual bodies, so it is hard and not realistic to put every one in one box and say this is what we all should do. But there are some general guidance, and you as individual can use these general guidance to match your needs.

General guidelines: most experts recommend sticking to about half-hour to one hour per day, most days of the week, but not everyday, to get the most benefits from exercise. It’s important to rest between workouts and take at least one full rest day every week — and sometimes even more like 2–3 depending on your goals and level of exercise intensity.

some rule of thumb to know if you are exercising too much are, Joint pain, moodiness, anxiety or depression, trouble sleeping, change in your heart rate, chronic fatigue or exhaustion, change in appetite, excessive thirst, digestion issues, and for females irregular periods or change to your menstrual cycle. basically, if you are not feeling energetic, happy and strong after your workout, you are doing too much.

What kind of exercise

There is no doubt that the more you workout, the more calories you will burn, but as I talked about this earlier it will put more stress on your body, hence elevated cortisol levels and all the other consequences that we already talked about. besides, who has unlimited time to spend working out long hours everyday?

Studies has shown that High Intensity Interval Training ( short intense workouts followed by less intensity rest periods), some might call it Burst training, might burn less calories while performing the exercise, due to its short duration, but it will burn more calories, and fat during the day. These kind of exercise will also build more muscle, another way to boost your metabolism. to learn more about short but high intensity workout and how it will benefit your body please click here.

Here are a few ideas of HIIT training:

Another type of exercise that will help boost your metabolism is strength training. By lifting weights your body will build muscle and it has been proven that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does which will increase your metabolism (1, 2).

what time of day:

Some fitness experts might try to convince you that working out early in the morning will burn more calories and boost your metabolism. The fact is, there is no scientifically proven data behind this claim. One way that working out early in the morning can help you, if you are a morning person, is by  starting your day on a healthy path, which will psychologically help you make better choices as what you eat and your activities for the rest of the day.

On the other hand, if you are not a morning person, and you cannot go to bed till after midnight for what ever reason, loosing sleep can put much more stress on your body, and I think we have talked enough about the important of sleep and the damages that stress can have on your body, already.  Also if you are not a morning person and you are forcing yourself to wake up early in the morning, the chances that you would give up and stop working out is much greater.

In short, it does not matter what time of the day you exercise. The most important, is you will pick a time that works for you, you can commit to it day after day, for most of the days, and with minimal interruption. which can be very hard for some of us 🙂

Bottom line:

Working out and building muscle is an important part of your metabolism boosting journey, but you don’t have to spend hours and hours everyday devoted to workout and exhausting yourself in order to see the benefits. In fact this has a reverse effect. what you need is short but high intensity cardio and strength training to help you boost your metabolism. don’t forget that you need rest as well. it is during the rest that your body has a chance to repair itself. 

As Always stay Happy and Healthy


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