Fitness Q&A: More muscle means faster metabolism

Fitness expert, Namita Jain answers readers’ questions on fitness. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Thursday.
This week’s answers:

1. Hi , I am Mustafa, 25 years of age suffering from multiple lipomas all over my body and its hereditary for me. I am 5’10” with 88 weight … i have been suffering from lipoma from the age of 18. first they were just 2 or 3 on forearms now in a span of 5 years they have multiplied into more than 100… mainly on thighs, waist and arms ….i came to know its not curable only excission is possible ……. can u plzzzz give me a diet programme and exercise routine to stop its further growth….. thanks.
mustafa ali
Lipomas are normally removed by simple excision; I suggest you consult a doctor for the recommended course of action. A diet and exercise programme is not the only answer to your condition. All the best!

2. Hi, I have been a regular walker for over 5 years now. I walk for about an hour everyday. About 4 months back I stopped walking due to heavy rains in chennai and started on an elliptical which was lying unused at home. Since then I do about 40 minutes on it. I should say that I get a feeling I am burning far more calories than walking and it is evident from the reduction of my waist by an inch. However my question is I feel tired on some days which I never felt when I was walking and hence is 40 mins on the elliptical too much for me to handle or is there a better way. please also advice on calories burnt on elliptical vs walking and what is the best way to loose weight. I am 41 years old and weigh 67 kgs and my height is 164 cms.
venkat Subramanian

The best way to challenge your body is to vary your exercise routine. I suggest you reduce the duration of your workout on the elliptical trainer, so that you don’t feel over tired. Maybe you could walk thrice a week days, and use the elliptical on the other days. Calories burnt depend on many factors… such as your intensity of workout, the duration and your current fitness level.

3. Hi Namita. Are there any specific foods that can build muscles? I am not overweight but quite flabby.

The only way to build muscles is through exercise. I suggest you strength train to tone-up your body. Also, make sure your diet is balanced so that your body gets adequate nutrition.

4. Hello mam. Please tell me how to exercise my son who is 8 yrs old and has flat foot. He complains of leg pain all the time.
I suggest he goes in for foot orthotics for his flat feet. Foot orthotics are shoe inserts that can be custom-made to prescribed specifications or purchased “off-the-shelf.” These are specially made for distributing body weight correctly. Once he has correct footwear, he can decide what fitness programme he would like to join.

5. What type of exercise can increase metabolic rate? I eat low calorie food and moderate quantity but still can’t lose weight.

Here are ways to jump-start your metabolism and kick it into a higher gear

Build muscle
You can increase muscle mass by adding strength training to your workout.
Why is strength training so important in boosting metabolism? Large muscle mass helps burn calories. More muscle means a faster metabolism. This is because muscle requires more oxygen and calories to maintain itself than fat. And, strength training helps build and maintain muscle.

Good choices include weight bearing exercises like push-ups, sit-ups or working out on machines or exercising using dumbbells or resistance bands.

Include cardiovascular exercise
Do some sort of aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging or swimming at east week, for a minimum of 30 minutes. Metabolic rates can increase up to 25-percent after a vigorous aerobic workout. This form of exercise will also help improve the digestive system and decrease levels of body fat.

Good choices include walking, swimming and cycling.

Set a scheduled eating pattern
Eating erratically affects the metabolism adversely. Set regular times for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Weigh yourself weekly
When you weigh yourself regularly, you know when you have slipped. These weekly checks will help you get back on track.

Eat slowly and sensibly
The faster you eat, the more you consume. This results in increased storage of fat. Eat slowly, sensibly and at regular intervals – consume foods that are low in fat to increase your metabolism and better digest your food.

Lead an active life
If you are sitting at a desk all day or leading a sedentary life, the metabolism starts becoming sluggish. It is important to increase your activity levels whenever possible. For example; take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk when possible instead of driving – keep your mind and body active to avoid lethargy from setting into your routine. Nothing is worse than that for slowing down the metabolic rate.

Namita is a Clinical Exercise Specialist and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant. She is currently attached to Bombay Hospital as their clinical and wellness specialist.

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