How to Raise Your BMR | Fitness Over 50

Burn Calories While You Sleep

In the previous articles about the importance of calculating your Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR) and how it should be the main factor when you’re trying to decide how many calories you need to cut in order to lose weight we went over just what BMR really is. For the benefit of those that haven’t read the previous articles I’ll go over what BMR is real briefly.

Basil Metabolic Rate is simply the amount of energy, measured in calories, that your body needs to maintain your current weight if you were in a state of complete rest. It’s the fuel that you r body needs to perform it’s most basic – hence basil – tasks like breathing, heart beat, digesting food controlling body temperature, regulating hormones and anything else the body simply must do to survive. Depending on your level of activity these calories can make up from half to seventy percent of all your daily caloric expenditures.

As mentioned this is energy or calories burned in a restful or even sedate state just to stay alive so if we can increase this number then we will burn more calories 24 hours a day, even while we’re sleeping!

Factors that control Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Among different individuals BMR can vary greatly. We all know someone that seems to be able to eat whatever, whenever they want well into their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and seem to never gain a pound. We should all be so lucky.

The main factors in your own personal BMR are:

  • Body size and composition (lean muscle burns calories at rest – fat doesn’t)
  • Parent’s body size and composition
  • Sex (male or female, not whether you’re having enough)
  • Age (BMR decreases two percent per decade after the age of 20)
  • Body temperature (some people have a normal temp that’s higher or lower than others thus burning more or less calories at rest)
  • Exercise (I know I said BMR is about calories burned at REST but I’ll explain later how certain kinds of exercise will continue to burn calories HOURS after you finish your workout)
  • Diet (not only what you eat but more importantly for BMR WHEN you eat)
  • Stress
  • Sleep

There are many other factors but this list covers the main ones. As you can see some of them like heredity, sex and age are completely out of your control but believe it or not the main deciding factor outside of genetics is very much within your ability to change.

Building Lean Muscle the key to increasing Basil Metabolic Rate

It’s a fact. Muscle burns calories even at rest. The amount has been exaggerated over the years to as much as 30 calories per day for every pound of lean body muscle mass but current research shows that the real number is more like six.  Fat burns almost NO calories at rest maybe one or two at the most so muscle mass burns about 3 times as many calories AT REST than fat. Remember this is per pound! It can add up over time.

Resistance Training Burns Calories for Hours

The body converts food to energy when the body needs it at a cellular level in whats know as the mitochondria. The mitochondria is also responsible for providing the energy for rebuilding and repairing muscle tissue. As we age our bodies number of mitochondria naturally decreases leaving us with fewer of these little calorie burning internal furnaces. Exercising regularly has been shown to slow down the loss of these cells and even increase their number. This happens as the demand for immediate energy is received by the body while we are working out, especially during aerobic exercise  when it needs it although this spike in caloric burn last only for a short time after the aerobic activity is over only burning a lot of calories during and immediately after the exercise .

Resistance training works in another way to stimulate these cells for an even longer period. Resistance or weight bearing exercise actually tears down the muscle tissue, this is why it’s recommended to never work out the same muscle groups two days in a row. The body needs time to repair this cellular muscle damage and this is what the mitochondria does even while you’re at rest or sleeping! those little internal furnaces are still at work hours after you’ve left the gym repairing the damage and burning the calories while it does so.

Those are the two easiest ways to increase your at rest metabolism. Increase lean muscle mass by including some resistance training in your activities.

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