The Best Exercises to Boost Your Metabolism

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The best exercises to boost your metabolism are the exercises you do consistently and that you enjoy! Exercise is less about burning calories and more about lowering stress, improving hormone responses, and toning muscles.

July 2023 Update: I still use at-home exercise videos and outside walking to stay fit, flexible, and energetic. At 61, this works really well for me and I love the convenience of working out at home!

Picture of author Sara with photographer
My 61st birthday photoshoot

This post may surprise you because it is not full of hardcore, hard-to-do workouts.

I created this post to give you some ideas of how to exercise and move to complement your diet.

While diet is the number one influence over your weight, exercise can complement your efforts and help you fine-tune your shape.

At 58, I have a fit strong body. I also have a tummy, hips, butt, and that little bulge on the side of my bra. I have a real human body that has been through a lot!

I love to exercise and move my body. When I am fit and can see and feel my muscles; I feel stronger and more confident. I look and feel better.

Picture of woman stretching on the floor with the words: free exercise videos to boost your metabolism

Your Hormones and Your Weight

I’ve been writing a lot lately about how your hormones have everything to do with your weight, how you store fat, your hunger, and how you know when you are full.

When you eat too much and too often during the day, it may cause your hormones to not let you know when you are full, increase your cravings, and increase the fat your body stores.

I call that being in a fat-storage mode.

What you want to be is in fat-burning mode.

There are so many hormones that affect this. Yet, you can improve all hormone performance by eating food that supports your hormone function.

Exercise and Hormones

One of the things that might surprise you about exercise, is that more isn’t always better.

Extreme forms of exercise can actually stress your hormones rather than helping you lose weight.

One reason that gentler forms of exercise can be beneficial is that they can lower cortisol secretion. High levels of cortisol can cause you to gain weight.

My personal experience with this supports this. I’ve always found that leisurely walking helps me lose weight. I explain how walking can get you in the fat-burning zone in this post.

The other thing is that intense exercise can increase appetite. You may expend more calories during a workout but then later eat more to compensate.

Easier forms of exercise don’t seem to trigger this appetite increase and can help you have appropriate appetite signals from your hormones.

My favorite ways to exercise gently are walking outside, in-home walking, and fusion workouts that combine movement, stretch, and a little strength.

Now that I’m closing in on sixty, I am all about preventing injury and keeping functionally fit.

But this doesn’t mean I can’t do “strong” things!

I can still hike for hours up mountains and ride my bike for 20+ miles. It seems counter-intuitive but it’s true.

Our bodies LOVE movement!

I truly enjoy moving my body and the payoff is that I’m in great shape. And not just for my age but great shape in general.

Leisurely walking is something I try to do a little of every day. Two or three times a week, I like to walk about 3 miles. Other days, I will go out for at least 20 minutes. 

Walking is great for your metabolism and it doesn’t impact hunger and cravings. It also helps keep your muscle tissue and liver sensitive to insulin. It is one activity that does lower your cortisol levels.

Walking can be your best activity for keeping your weight in the healthy range.

Do as much walking as you can. Don’t power walk. Walk at a pace that is comfortable and that doesn’t get you out of breath.

It might even surprise you even more to know that being an elite or endurance athlete is not correlated with health.

We assume because people are thin, have a six-pack, and can run for miles that they are healthier.

Sure, athletes might be more fit, but that does not mean healthier.

The reason, I mention this is because, when we have weight to lose, we often think we need to work out harder. Yet, especially when you are changing your eating habits, you want to participate in gentler activities.

Just a reminder. This is not intended as medical advice, it is meant to be informative and an example of what I do and why. This may not be the right thing for you right now because of health reasons. I also use simplified descriptions of body functions at times to make this easier to understand.

Suggested Exercises to Boost Your Metabolism

In addition to what we eat, how we move can affect our hormones and our metabolism. In addition to that, the stress we have can also affect our bodies and cause us to gain weight or get fat in certain areas of our body.

The exercise that I recommend is exercise that not only gets your body moving and builds muscle, but that also decreases stress.

Yep, stress can cause weight gain and fat storage.

Walking is number one, no surprise there. Walking is safe and readily available to most people.

Outside walking has the added benefit of fresh air and sunshine.

I also love walking in my house with videos. What I love about walking with Leslie Sansone or other instructors is that you can incorporate even more muscles.

After working on a computer for a few hours, it feels great to get up and move.

If I feel stressed, I can feel stress almost melt away as I walk.

Whichever walking you do, try to walk three to six times a week. Keep your pace comfortable and focus on enjoyment rather than pushing yourself. Remember, that the benefits come from reducing cortisol as much as from burning calories.

The true benefits of walking are cumulative and are way better than simply the calories you burn while you walk!

This post on Best Exercises to Lose Weight has two free in-home walking YouTube videos you can try.

Exercises to Boost Your Metabolism

Exercise such as yoga, Pilates, Barre, and Tai Chi can also be helpful. They help shape your body while simultaneously relaxing it.


I’m a huge fan of Barre. You can find lots of good workouts online. If you can find a Barre class nearby, it’s fun to do this in a studio.

It’s import to build muscle as part of your overall exercise program. Muscle helps your metabolism even when it’s resting! More muscle equals more fat burning all the time.

At home, I love workouts that incorporate a lot of elements. I call them fusion workouts because they have lots of different components within one workout.

Barre can be challenging at first. However, while the movements can feel intense, they are easy to modify and generally you don’t do any one movement for too long.

I remember my first barre class. While walking home from it, I couldn’t believe how relaxed and energized my body felt. It was incredible!

Fusion workouts

I have a subscription with Ellen Barrett for these. This isn’t an affiliate—I just love these workouts so much. I credit them with keeping me flexible and pain-free. They work out all the kinks!

Yoga and Pilates

These two are nothing alike but both are amazing for the body. I don’t practice either of them exclusively but I love workouts that have their movements incorporated into them.

Finding a class where you can learn the movements is helpful. For me the best benefits come from a regular practice. Especially for yoga, the more I do, the more I enjoy it and can relax into it.

How HIIT Can boost your metabolism

For the bulk of my movement and exercise, I do things that are generally easy on the body. Two or three times a week, I like to do short but more intense workouts that target either my core, legs, arms, or butt.

These areas all benefit from getting some extra toning!

What I look for in this kind of workout is that it has cardio built in plus specific exercises that use hand weights or body weight for toning.

HIIT mixes in moves to get your heart beat up but then gives you rest and recovery time. HIIT can be an excellent type of exercise to boost metabolism.

The great thing about it is, that you can have shorter workouts that give you the benefit of working out longer.

Here are some fun workouts I found online that you can try.

Fun Low Impact Workout for Beginners and Seniors

I’m not a beginner or a senior but I really enjoyed this cardio session!

This is such a great walking-type workout. The quality is excellent and Stef offers easy to follow directions. It is a very low-impact workout but it does get your heart beat up and works out all those kinks from sitting at a computer.

And for those of us that are on the computer a lot, there is quite a bit of finger movement. I really enjoyed this workout a lot.

Two Mile Walk with Leslie Sansone

This continues to be one of my favorite walking videos. It does get fast but you can modify. It really works your core too!

30-Minute Feel Good Fusion

This workout kept a smile on my face from start to finish!

It’s a barefoot workout and I love those. It is very gentle but it has some challenges. I really liked her unique moves. They were easy to do but I could feel my muscles working.

This worked my body from head to toe!

This truly was a feel good fusion workout that mixes pilates, cardio, barre, and yoga. All my favorites! Give it a try.

20 Minute Total Body Barre Workout

Low Impact OVERWEIGHT Cardio Workout

Very gentle and easy to follow.

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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.