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I have noticed that a lot of people who come to see me professionally do little exercise. Sometimes I wonder if anyone does any exercise and I have come to the conclusion that they do, they just don’t come to see me very often.

A lot of people groan at the thought of exercise as they picture themselves in a gym. This isn’t for me either, but some people love it and good for them.

Exercise is anything that increases your breathing and heart rate, gets you a bit warm and bit sweaty.

It’s an individual thing and it’s about doing what you enjoy, after all the aim here is fitness for life rather than 5 minutes.

Exercise has loads of benefits but I’m going to focus on speeding up your metabolism and losing weight.

Many people think that their metabolism is fixed. This is not true.

Low Metabolism 

The best way to lower your metabolism is to go on a diet and starve yourself. Your body is then forced to make efficient use of all calories, so it slows down to make the most of what you’re giving it. As a result you feel tired and irritable, lack energy (and not want to exercise) and end up either not losing weight or more likely putting more on.

Increasing Metabolism

You do this by eating the correct foods, you eat regularly PLUS you exercise. When this becomes your routine your body will raise its metabolic rate, which means it’s burning more calories and producing more energy. This doesn’t happen overnight. If you’ve been dieting for years you’ve got some serious correcting to do with your body’s metabolism because chances are you’ve screwed it up.

Exercise stimulates an enzyme called lipase. Lipase breaks fat down to make energy for the muscles to use. There have been studies done showing that reasonably rigorous activity can not only stimulate these fat busters into action but also they continue to be active for up to 12 hours after your have exercised!

Muscles that are being used also draw glucose from the blood. This reduces the amount of insulin you need to produce. If you read last week’s blog you will know that this will prevent new fat storage.

So regular exercise prevents new fat storage from what you are eating today AND stimulates the breakdown of stored fat from what you have eaten before.

Un-exercised muscles are broken down, because they are not needed. No exercise = reduced muscle = reduced fat burning ability. Our bodies are made up of muscles which are designed to be moved and used. Use it or lose it.

How much exercise to lose weight?

After you have been exercising for about 30 minutes your body switches from using stored carbohydrates for energy to fat. Therefore it is as simple as walking at a pace that gets you a little out of breath and keeping it up for over 30 minutes. Doing this every day will put you in regular fat burning mode.

Comments and questions welcome as ever, see you next week.

Uber Health to you, Dr Julie (any ads that appear are nothing to do with me, I am NOT endorsing)

PS   I am looking for a hand full of volunteers to who want to lose weight and would like my help over the course of a few months, starting June/July 2013. Please email me if you are interested  :)

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