How People Over 50 Can Raise Their Metabolism

How People Over 50 Can Raise Their Metabolism

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Regular swimming workouts can elevate your metabolism.

John Moore/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If you're over 50 years old, you may wince or think twice before eating that extra serving of cheesecake or reaching for another six-pack of beer. Not only do you lose muscle mass as you grow older but your metabolism slows down. The best way to boost your metabolism is exercise. A regimen that combines aerobic exercise and strength training can counteract a sedentary lifestyle and help to recapture the metabolism of your younger years.

More Muscle Mass

Using a strength training program for older adults like the one developed by Tufts University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can increase your metabolism by 15 percent and better manage your weight, according to the CDC. Exercises in the program include squats, wall pushups, calf raises, finger marching, biceps curls, step-ups, overhead presses, hip abductions, knee extensions, hamstring curls, pelvic tilts and supine arm and leg extensions. You can use dumbbells for arm curls and presses and ankle weights for knee extensions and leg curls. For each exercise, perform two sets of 10 reps.

Cardio for Calorie Burn

People over 50 should get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense cardiovascular activity -- like fitness walking -- per week or 75 minutes of intense cardio -- like running or swimming laps -- per week, according to the CDC. A cardio session you burn calories, raise your metabolism and build lean muscle. You can segment an aerobic workout into 10-minute chunks, such as walking for 10 minutes three times daily. Swimming is a low-impact activity that provides a total-body workout and is comfortable for people with muscular disorders or arthritis.

Energize Chores and Leisure

People who sit at work may be operating at 20 to 40 percent above their resting metabolic rate. In contrast, people who stand at work can function at up to 80 percent of their resting metabolism. Physical activities, such as climbing stairs, don't qualify as formal exercise but contribute to daily energy expenditure and are known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis, according to “Nutrition, Exercise, and Behavior: An Integrated Approach to Weight Management” by Liane Summerfield. Engaging in active leisure activities, such as gardening, can help to elevate your metabolism.

The Myth of Nibbling

Eating frequent small meals throughout your day to boost your metabolism is a myth. According to 2012 study published in “PloS One,” researchers at the Maastricht University Medical Center in Holland found no difference in the carbohydrate and fat oxidation in subjects who ate three large meals per day versus subjects who ate 14 small meals per day. Also, supposed miracle foods -- like caffeine, chilli or green tea -- will not have any significant impact on your metabolism. Follow a balanced nutritional plan, consisting primarily of lean protein, whole-grain foods, vegetables and fruit, to lose or maintain your weight.

Resources (2)

  • New Pounds and Inches; Richard Lipman
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?