What is basal metabolism?

What Is The Basal Metabolic Rate

Basal metabolism represents the amount of calories burnt by organism merely for survival. In other words, basal metabolism is the minimum intake of calories still deemed healthy and not harmful. Eating less than minimum amount may lead to health issues.

BMR can be determined with utmost precision only under strict conditions and with specialized equipment. Basal measurements must be carried out in optimum surrounding temperatures and when the person is awake but completely rested, usually after 8 hours of sleep; the individual must also have been fasting for about 12 hours prior to the test. The experts carrying out these measurements will consider all of the factors that are unique to you, so that the result is truly accurate.

Estimating BMR

There are online calculators available where you can enter your age, sex, height and weight, and you will get an estimation of your BMR.

Even though determining the basal metabolic rate requires rigorous conditions, it can also be estimated. The easiest way to estimate BMR is to factor in your sex, age, height and weight.

Thus, the BMR can be estimated for men as follows:
10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
Women, on the other hand, can calculate their BMR thus:
10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161

Another way is to measure the oxygen up-take rate and then determine its energy equivalent (this makes sense because oxygen is consumed during the metabolism of most body cells). Thus, a man can typically take in 350 litres of oxygen per day, which is equivalent to 1700 kcal per day. Making use of a canopy hood, a face mask, or other gas collection method, this estimation measures both the oxygen uptake and the carbon dioxide production to determine how much heat the organism produces.

Why it matters and how to improve it

By calculating your BMR, you can determine about 70% of the calories (or energy) your body uses. To calculate the rest, you must factor in how many calories you burn during digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as how physically active you are.

The daily minimum calorie intake for women is 1,200, while men shouldn’t eat less than 1,800 calories per day. This means that a balanced diet can actually help you boost your metabolic rate. Take on an active lifestyle (if your health allows), that includes climbing stairs, doing push-ups and sit-ups, and weight lifting to build your muscle mass.

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