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If you're trying to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy weight, you need to understand how you body burns calories. Without engaging in physical activity, your body will easily burn in excess of 1,000 calories a day. Additional activity will increase the number of calories burned. Understand how your body uses calories and how to safely burn them before planning an exercise regimen.
Basal Metabolic Rate
The basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories that your body burns to function in a state of rest. The basal metabolic rate varies from person to person based on weight, height, age and gender, but should always be well above 1,000 calories. For example, a 25-year-old woman who is 5 feet, 7 inches tall will have a basal metabolic rate of 1,417.9 calories. This is the number of calories that a person matching that profile will burn just to carry out basic bodily functions.
Additional Calories Burned
Performing additional activities will increase the number of calories that you burn. The exact number of calories you burn depends on your weight and how long you perform the activity for. This includes simple activities such as standing as well as more involved activities like exercising. For example, a person who weighs 200 pounds will burn 108 calories simply by standing for an hour while a person who ways 120 pounds will burn 79 calories from 30 minutes of housework. A person weighing 150 pounds will burn 408 calories from an hour of running at a speed of 10 miles per hour.
According to the McKinley Health Center, you can lose weight safely by creating a calorie deficit of between 500 and 1,000 calories per day. To do this you can either decrease your food intake by 500 to 1,000 or increase the number of calories you burn through physical activity by the same amount. You can also do a combination of both. To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to achieve a deficit of 3,500 calories. So burning an extra 1,000 calories per day will amount to a loss of 2 pounds per week.
Minimum Calorie Intake
The American College of Sports Medicine warns that your calorie intake should never be below certain minimum amounts. It advises that women should consume a minimum of 1,200 calories per day and men should consume 1,800 daily calories. If your calorie intake drops below these levels, your body will enter survival mode, slowing your metabolism and making it difficult to lose weight.