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What is Metabolic Rate? Here’s All You Need to Know

Your metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn as your body performs essential life-sustaining functions, which makes up about 60% to 70% of the calories you burn or expend.

Your metabolic rate depends on several factors, including age, gender, weight, height, environmental temperature, diet, and exercise habits. A healthier metabolic rate supports weight management and, more importantly, leads to overall wellness.

The total energy expenditure related to your metabolic rate has three main components. 

The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories burned at rest. It includes the energy your body uses to keep all its systems functioning correctly, including breathing, circulation, hormone regulation, and cell production.

The body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR), which accounts for about 50% to 80% of your daily energy consumption, determines the largest daily energy expenditure. Your metabolic rate can be slow or fast, depending on your BMR. 

Thermic Effect of Food (Thermogenesis)

The body uses energy to absorb, distribute, and store the nutrients from your meals and beverages.

As a result, metabolic rate increases after eating, rising quickly after starting to eat and reaching peak rate two to three hours later. Based on the quantity of the foods consumed, this increase in metabolic rate might be anywhere from 2% and 30%. 

Energy Used During Physical Activity

Your metabolic rate also depends on how many calories you expend daily for physical activity. Exercise can be as simple as playing a sport, doing daily chores, or playing with the dog.

However, this component accounts for 20% of our daily energy use, assuming a person is generally active and engages in 30-45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily.

The HealthifyMe Note

The total metabolic rate output is BMR + lifestyle and food + exercise. The thermic effect of food or metabolising food contributes about 2%-30% of the daily metabolic rate. About 50% to 80% of your metabolic rate is basal metabolic rate, influencing your total metabolism and essential bodily functions. 

BMR vs RMR

Although BMR and RMR both estimate the number of calories a person burns while resting, there are slight differences between the two rates.  This distinction is particularly helpful for someone wishing to maintain particular body weight

The basal metabolic rate, or BMR, calculates the minimal calories needed to support a person’s essential bodily functions. Age, sex, muscle mass, diet, environmental temperature, and physical activity are among the variables that affect BMR and metabolism. 

To get a precise estimate, a person must undergo monitoring in a clinical setting under well-supervised conditions. These are:

Keep a 12-hour fast before the test.6-8 hours of sleep before a testThe monitor room should be in a low-light, controlled environment.Testing in a reclined position

Lean mass, particularly muscle mass, plays a significant role in determining your BMR because lean mass requires a lot of energy to maintain. The BMR will also drop due to any factor that reduces lean mass. Keeping lean muscles helps with weight loss and lowers the risk of getting injured during exercise.

The RMR calculates how many calories a person consumes while at rest. This rate is often measured in the morning, after a whole night of restful sleep, but before you eat or exercise.

People can obtain an estimate in a controlled atmosphere without having to fast or rest for a long time. The RMR might be less precise than the BMR because the testing requirements are less strict for measuring the RMR.

Many factors could influence your metabolism. A few of these include

Muscle Mass

Building and maintaining muscle requires more energy (calories) than fat. Muscular individuals frequently have faster metabolisms or higher metabolic rates that burn more calories.

Age

As you age, you lose muscle, slowing your metabolism. Therefore, expect a gradual decline in metabolic rate with ageing. But you can follow resistance and strength training to reduce muscle loss, which helps prevent the reduction in metabolic rate.

Gender

Compared to women, men often have a high metabolic rate. Generally, women’s metabolic rate averages 5-10% lower than men’s. This is because women naturally have less muscle mass and more body fat compared to men of a similar size. 

Physical Activity

Your body burns more calories when you exercise. Be it walking, running after your baby or pet, or playing a sport. 

Hydration

A study shows that drinking 500 mL of water can increase metabolic rate by 30% within 10 minutes and will reach a maximum level after 30-40 minutes. On the other hand, without drinking enough water, your metabolism can slow down and lower your metabolic rate. 

Tips to Maintain Metabolic Rate

Avoid Skipping Meals

If you drastically restrict calories, your body starts metabolising muscle for energy. Conversely, loss of muscle mass causes the metabolism to slow, causing a decline in metabolic rate. Therefore, what, when and how you eat greatly influence your metabolic rate. 

Exercise

To increase muscular mass, engage in strength training or other weight-resistance activities. Regular exercise teaches your body to burn calories faster, even at rest. 

Diet

Boost your metabolic rate with fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meat, and wholesome fats and carbohydrates. Avoid crash dieting, strict diets, or starving. Instead, choose a balanced diet plan suitable to your needs. 

Sleep

Good sleep helps your metabolic rate stay steady. Poor sleep patterns make it harder for your body to use energy well. It can lead to specific food cravings and a sluggish metabolism.

Conclusion

Your metabolic rate significantly affects how well your body functions. Several factors, such as age, muscle mass, and intensity of physical activity, might affect your metabolism’s ability to use calories as fuel.

Calculating your metabolic rate helps you decide how many calories to remove from your diet to lose or maintain weight. If you wish to put on weight, calculate how many more calories to eat daily based on your BMR or RMR.

You can use HealthifyMe BMR Calculator to make the task easier and get more accurate results.

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