Metabolic Rate refers to the rate one expends calories in a given period of time. Essentially, it is the rate by which we expend energy through the chemical breakdown of “burning calories”. Not only do we spend calories during periods of work and during exercise, we also burn calories at rest simply to keep our cells alive. This is a vial point to understand! What I am referring to is known as the “Basil”, or resting, metabolic rate. In fact, you burn more during your ‘resting hours’ than you do during periods of exercise! For example, one hours worth of tennis or basketball could burn about 600 or so calories. One hour at rest may burn only 90 or so. But you might only play one hours worth of tennis three or four times a week, while your resting metabolic rate is what you burn 24/7. It is easy to see that 90 times 24 times 7 is significantly greater than 600 times 4. (90 * 24 * 7 = 15120 vs. 600 * 4 = 2400). The point I am making is not that exercise is useless, it is the importance of the bazil metabolic rate in determining the caloric balances within an individual.
Balance in caloric levels is the whole point in weight control. The basic calculus is simple: calories in / calories out. The amount of calories consumed should approximate the number of calories burned for a caloric balance in maintaining weight levels. For weight loss calories in must be less than calories expended. This is a very obvious, even simplistic point, but you need to have a clear focus on that basic truth. We simply have to reduce our intake (in a healthy way) while we simultaneously increase our output. The reduction of intake through a healthy diet is the subject of a future article. This article focuses on the expenditure of calories as a tool of weight control and weight loss. The main weakness of many weight loss programs, even the good ones, is that they do not stress the importance of exercise. The main goal in weight loss ought to be the improvement of one’s health and well-being; not merely upon a more superficial look into the mirror! In fact: you CANNOT be healthy without exercise!
A very powerful tool in regard to weight loss is the manipulation of the resting or Basil metabolic rate. This rate does vary between individuals and even within a single individual from time to time. Size and age are important factors, which account for differences in metabolic rate between individuals. Another very important factor in influencing resting metabolic rate is the physical condition of the individual. Why this is true is a little too technical to fully explain here, but suffice to say that it has a lot to do with how your body is able to efficiently utilize oxygen in the chemical breakdown of sugar molecules in the process we simply call “metabolism”. If we can enhance the efficiency in which this oxygen is utilized, we can thereby increase resting metabolic rate. A different, and simpler way of looking at this is in the understanding that the human body in its miraculous design is amazingly adaptive. Push the body to habitually utilize more oxygen, push the body to habituate to burning energy at greater levels and the body will adapt to do so. What this all adds up to is the ability to increase the resting metabolic rate. This again is the rate which we burn calories 24/7, 365 days a year. We burn calories even at sleep. The idea is that even a small increase in the hourly rate of caloric expenditure will add up in time to real and permanent weight loss.
Of course, bearing in mind that the increase in caloric expenditure cannot be offset by an increase in intake. Calories consumed must be less than calories expend in order to create a caloric deficit that will translate to weight loss. The topic of exactly how to diet in a healthy way will be dealt with at length in a future article (I hope you will look for it). For now just understand that you actually need to create an imbalance of calories: calories in
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