Some days, it feels like no matter how much time you clock in the gym or how carefully you watch your diet, you’re just not burning as many calories as you would like. But there’s a secret to burning hundreds of calories without even realising it.
From the outside, you won’t even seem to be doing anything exceptionally strenuous, but there are plenty of opportunities to work your body without you going out of your way to look for them. In fact, research has shown that by just getting up to move around instead of staying sedentary can make a huge difference. Just making a little extra effort can bring you surprising results.
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It boils down to this…
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is what accounts for about two-thirds of the total calories our bodies burn in a day. It is the amount of energy the body needs to maintain basic functions while at rest, like breathing, regulating body temperature, and keeping the heart pumping. Simply by sitting on the couch without doing anything, you’re already burning some calories. For instance, you can burn 40 to 55 calories per hour while sleeping, and more if you’re sitting up reading.
BMRs vary from person to person, circumstances, and even change over time. It might slow down with age or when the body goes into starvation mode (which is why it never pays to starve yourself), or increase when you’ve built more muscle. A slowing metabolic rate is one of the reasons why some people have a hard time trying to lose weight. BMR can also be affected by medication and some medical conditions like thyroid disease.
So if you’re doing all you can do to keep your weight in check but need a boost now and then, here’s how you can seize every opportunity to pump up that heart rate, flex those muscles, and raise your basal metabolic rate.
Text: Joyce Chua/HerWorld, Additional reporting: Atika Lim