A heart-healthy cardio workout will help you to burn calories while you exercise. But make sure to do your weight training as well. Having good muscle mass helps you to burn calories all through the day, even when your body is at rest.
This concept refers to your Resting Metabolic Rate, or RMR, the number of calories it takes to carry out basic physiologic functions such as breathing, digestion and circulation. Your RMR accounts for between 60-70% of all the calories burned daily. The calories that you burn when you exercise or move throughout the day make up the rest.
Different types of body tissue affect the RMR differently. For example, muscle tissue contributes more than fat because muscle cells are denser and more metabolically active than fat cells. So the more muscle that you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. With a high percentage of muscle mass, you burn more calories.
Factors that affect your metabolism include your age, gender, heredity, weight, and thyroid activity. Our RMR decreases 5% per decade as we age, and men burn more calories at rest because they have a higher percentage of muscle mass to begin with. Most people with thyroid issues have an under-active thyroid gland that, when corrected, improves the body’s rate of metabolism.
Stimulating your muscles as you exercise, and consequently growing more muscle mass is the best way to increase your resting metabolic rate. Then you burn even more calories while you sleep; how great is that?!
--Dr. Kate Kennedy