The 5 Biggest Myths About Your Metabolism

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If your body isn't keeping up the way it used to, it might be time for a metabolism overhaul. But if you think you know everything about your body's natural furnace, think again.

Myth 1: Your metabolism inevitably slows as you get older.

There is some cellular aging that we can't yet do anything about. But if you keep weight in check and exercise regularly with a focus on strength training, your metabolic rate can outperform a twenty something couch potato's through your sixties and beyond.

Myth 2: Any kind of regular exercise — running, cycling, walking — can keep metabolism cranking.

For a healthy metabolic rate, strength training is nonnegotiable. The more muscle you have, the more sugar you burn, and that's an essential safeguard against insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.

Myth 3: Thin people have faster metabolisms.

You can be a normal weight and have a slower metabolism than a heavier guy who is your same height. That's because weight doesn't determine metabolism — the amount of muscle is what's key. And if you're thin without much strength, your metabolic rate is likely slow.

Myth 4: Overweight people don't have much muscle.

Wrong. They build muscle by carrying the extra weight, even if they can't see it under the fat. When they lose weight, they also lose some of that muscle, and their metabolism slows because of it — which makes keeping the weight off that much more challenging.

Myth 5: Physical activity burns the most fuel.

Most of the calories we use throughout the day are spent on the basic processes of life (breathing, digesting, keeping our organs running). However, exercise is where we have the most choice about how many additional calories we burn — a few or many.