The connection between exercise and metabolism is one that people are typically aware of, but not one that is commonly understood.
Exercise can be defined as any activity that forces you to exert excessive energy that ultimately results in a sustained increase in your heart rate.
Everyone knows that exercising the body will result in burning more calories than simply sitting on the couch watching your favorite T.V. show.
What many people do not realize, when it comes to exercise and metabolism, is that when you provide your body with consistent and sustained periods of exercise, your body actually burns a much greater percentage of fat during periods of inactivity when you are not even engaging in exercise. In other words, consistent exercise sessions will increase your metabolism and help you to burn body fat even when you aren’t working out!
The length of time that your metabolism is increased following a workout is mostly dependent upon the intensity of your workout and only slightly dependent upon the duration of your workout.
Low intensity workouts will typically cause a rise in metabolism for about an hour after completing your workout. Low intensity workouts are activities such as walking, jogging slowly and stretching.
High intensity workout activities like fast-paced running, circuit weight training or any aerobic activity that results in a sustained heart rate at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate will effectively increase your metabolism for hours after you have completed your workout.
Heart Rate Calculation
To determine your maximum heart rate, you simply take 220 and subtract your age from it. So a 20 year old’s “maximum heart rate” calculation would be: 220 – 20 = 200 beats per minute.
To determine what your heart rate should be to stay in the 70-80% range of your maximum heart rate, you will calculate the lower and upper limits.
To calculate the lower limit of your heart rate range (70% of the maximum) simply multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.7. To determine the upper limit of your heart rate range (80% of the maximum) you will multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.8.
Using the example of the 20 year old, their lower range would be 140 (200 x 0.7) and their upper range would be 160 (200 x 0.8).
So, a 20 year old would want to maintain their heart rate in the range of 140-160 beats per minute to ensure they are engaging in a high intensity workout and maximizing their calorie burn for hours after completing their workout.
As alluded to above, any amount of exercise will give your metabolism a boost. However, studies have shown that by engaging in intense exercise lasting 45-90 minutes at least 5 days per week, you can increase the amount of calories burned during times of rest following an intense workout by as much as 30%!
As you can see, there is a strong relationship between exercise and metabolism. By regularly exercising your body, you can significantly increase the number of calories you naturally burn every day and more effectively burn away body fat.