Diet: Do's and Don'ts To Boost Your Metabolism (cont.)

5. Tone up.

Becoming more active will stimulate your metabolism, says Susan L. Burke, MS, RD/LD, CDE, director of nutrition services for eDiets. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, she explains, so replacing your fat stores with lean muscle allows you to maintain your weight much more easily. "It's not necessary to become a body builder," says Burke. "Just use light weights to firm and tone your muscles."

6. Get moving.

Aerobic exercise will burn calories, says Burke, who recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate activity every day. Combined activity counts -- walk, skip, jog, or dance. Activity in your home counts, too. Garden, clean closets, or clean your house. "You'll burn the most calories, however, with sustained activity that gets your heart rate up," says Burke.

7. Watch those calories.

As you get older, your metabolism will slow down -- approximately 5% a decade, says Madelyn H. Fernstrom, PhD, CNS, associate professor and director of the UPMC Health System Weight Management Center in Pittsburgh. A slower metabolism is a natural part of aging, Fernstrom explains, so to maintain a stable weight, you must adjust your caloric intake and/or physical activity. "If someone needs 1,500 calories a day to maintain his body weight at age 40, for example, he or she will need about 1425 calories a day at age 50 to maintain that weight, without changing anything else," says Fernstrom.

The bottom line when it comes to metabolism, says Susan Burke, "If it sounds too good to be true, it is."

Originally published February 2003. Medically updated June 2004.


SOURCES: Madelyn H. Fernstrom, PhD, CNS, associate professor and director, UPMC Health System Weight Management Center * Susan L. Burke, MS, RD/LD, CDE, director of nutrition services, eDiets * Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, LD, CDN * Lyssie Lakatos, RD, LD, CDN * John Acquaviva, PhD, assistant professor of health and human performance, Roanoke College, Salem, Va. * Carey Clifford, MS, RD, vice president, Nutricise * Sue Ayersman, CCN, Kronos Optimal Health Centre, Scottsdale, Ariz.

© 2003 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.


Last Editorial Review: 5/10/2005