[dropcap]D[/dropcap]id you know that even when you’re at rest, your body needs energy for all its hidden functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells? The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate, or what you might call metabolism.
Metabolism is simply the process through which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.
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Factors that determine your individual basal metabolism, including:
- Your body size and composition. People who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.
- Your sex. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, which means men burn more calories.
- Your age. As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.
- Exercise. Muscles need energy to help fuel it. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs in order to feed the muscles. You can increase your muscle mass either by using weights or body weight resistance exercises, such as press ups, dips etc.
- Meal timing. There is evidence suggesting that meal frequency could be beneficial for weight management. When you eat hardly any food your metabolism can slow down to save energy. Then when you go back to normal eating it may mean your lowered BMR leads you to gain some of the weight you lost and possibly put more on.
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Here is a look at the most effective ways to burn calories
You may have no much control over the speed of your metabolism since we are different but we can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are the more calories you burn. You can burn more calories with:
- Regular aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to burn calories and includes activities such as walking, bicycling and swimming. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. Remember, the more active you are, the greater the benefits.
- Strength training. Strength training is important because it helps counteract muscle loss associated with aging. And since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.
- Lifestyle activities. Any extra movement helps burn calories. Look for ways to walk and move around each day. Taking the stairs more often and parking farther away at the store are simple ways to burn more calories. Even activities such as gardening, washing your car and housework burn calories and contribute to weight loss.
As you age, your metabolism naturally slows down. This is one of several reasons why most people gain weight as they get older and any extra body fat you gain slows your metabolism further. So live an active lifestyle and eat healthy.