Slow metabolisms are mainly nature, but part nurture. Women have slower metabolisms than men, due to the very curves that cause men's metabolisms to quicken. Men have more lean muscle mass then women, and according to MayoClinic.com, that muscle burns more calories than fat tissue. Women have a higher percentage of body fat, and so, lower caloric needs in general.
Breathing and Burning Better
Aerobic exercise burns calories, builds cardiovascular health and works out the large muscle groups in the body. Running is an aerobic form of exercise as is swimming and cross-country skiing. The more intense the exercise, the greater the cardiovascular benefits. The slower and longer you work out, the greater percentage of fat versus carbohydrate you burn. According to MayoClinic.com, a 160-lb person burns 986 calories per hour running at 8 mph and burns 511 calories per hour swimming laps at a moderate pace.
Muscle Mass Function
Lifting weights or doing resistance exercises builds strength as it builds muscles. When you reduce calorie intake even slightly, the deficit of calories results in fat burned. Lifting weights helps replace the fat with increased muscle tissue, and that muscle tissue requires more calories to sustain it. The result is a win-win situation. The more muscle you gain, the more calories you need to consume to sustain it. Even if you stay the same weight because muscle is denser than fat, you look trimmer, feel better and can eat a healthy well-balanced diet while maintaining your desired weight.
Flexing Your Ability
Performing flexibility exercises is important to increase calories burned now, and to ensure fitness as you age. Teenagers take flexibility for granted, but most 40-year olds begin to notice a decrease in their range of comfortable motion. Yoga is a good way to stretch joints and muscles as well as increase blood circulation. Tai chi is another form of exercise that emphasizes balance and muscle control, as well as flexibility. If you do not have the ability or time to join a class, rent a beginner's instructional yoga DVD and practice at home. Although basic flexibility exercises do not burn as many calories as most aerobic exercise or build as much muscle as weight lifting, it is an important part of a balanced exercise program for people of all age groups.
Exercise and Food
Metabolizing food means turning into energy. To keep exercise plans on track, you need to eat well. Building muscle helps boost metabolism, but muscles, in turn, need protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to grow. Eating a small snack, such as yogurt, an hour before a workout is helpful. After exercising, replenishing spent supplies of carbohydrate and other nutrients is important to maintain metabolism levels. Energy gels or fruits, such as bananas, work well.
Some women make the mistake of exercising more while simultaneously cutting back radically on calories, in the hopes of losing weight quickly. When there is a severe cutback in available fuel, the body cannot adequately respond to exercise demands. Fatigue, and further drops in metabolism, result.
Sometimes, a body gets accustomed to an exercise routine. Mixing up an exercise regimen helps keep metabolisms humming along. Experienced runners might try one day in the pool during the week, and swimmers benefit from a day pounding the pavement.