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5:32 PM Wed, Oct. 17th

How to burn more calories

Does it seem like you used to be able to eat whatever you wanted and now you can't even look at food without gaining weight? Would you like to know what might be the cause of that?

It can have a lot to do with metabolism. Metabolism is all of the processes that occur in the body that turn the food you eat into energy your body uses.

The amount of energy our bodies need and use plays a significant part in one's weight. As we age, our metabolism starts to slow down. The reason a person's metabolism slows down is due to the fact that the body loses muscle with age.

As we lose muscle mass, our calorie needs fall. So as we get older we may be consuming more calories than our bodies can use, resulting in stored fat. Consuming as little as 50 extra calories a day over what our bodies can metabolize will result in a weight gain of almost six pounds over a one-year period.

After age 25 men and women lose lean muscle tissue every year. In our 30s, metabolism slows by about 5 percent every decade.

After age 40 women lose one-half pound of muscle each year. After menopause, women lose up to one pound a year if they do not exercise. Exercising will help protect your muscle that will help you burn fat and calories. If you're in your 50s and 60s, it's not too late to start exercising. You can still protect your muscle, burn fat, and achieve better weight loss.

Age does not have to be a factor in your decision to exercise to help you lose weight. Sometimes people may say, "I'm old and tired. I've never exercised and it's too late to start now." Society tends to view getting older as a time to relax and take it easy. A significant factor in becoming overweight, unhealthy, weak, or ill is due to inactivity rather than age. So it's important to be active in life no matter how old we are.

Here is another area that can aid in fat burning.

Certain fats may increase your fat-burning potential. A study at the University of Wisconsin Madison measured fat burning in college-age women who rested, cycled lightly, and cycled heavily. The amount of fat burned was measured for 12 hours after they consumed meals high in monounsaturated fats (good fat) and saturated fats (bad fat).

Researcher found that about 50 percent of the monounsaturated fat was burned after heavy exercise, 39 percent after light exercise, and 34 percent after rest. Only 11 percent of the saturated fat was burned regardless of whether the women rested or exercised.

Therefore, consuming monounsaturated fats may improve your fat burning results when you exercise. Consider fats such as canola oil, olive oil, peanut oils, nuts and seeds for your meals prior to exercising.