You probably know that the number of calories you need every day depends on how active you are. But what other factors impact your calorie requirements? Your age, gender, body weight, and metabolism also determine the calorie requirements.
Let’s look at these in detail:
Calorie Requirement Differs With Age
Older adults need fewer calories than younger adults because their metabolism slows down as they age. This can mean anywhere from 10% to 30% fewer calories for the same amount of work depending on age and other factors such as activity level or muscle mass.
However, maintaining a healthy weight for older adults also means maintaining muscle mass with strength training exercises, which means they might need to adjust calories as needed if they’re trying to avoid weight loss.
Men Need More Calories Than Women
Women also have less muscle mass than men, while their fat-to-muscle ratio is greater compared to men. These differences in body composition mean women have lower BMRs since muscle burns more calories than fat does even while at rest.
More Physical Activity Requires More Calories
The greater your activity level, the more calories you need. Activity levels can be expressed in several ways, such as the metabolic equivalent (MET). One MET is defined as the energy cost of sitting quietly for one hour awake, which is approximately at least 1 kilocalorie per kilogram of body weight per hour (kcal/kg/h or kcal/kg/h). Other activities can be expressed in METs according to how much energy is expended during the activity.
For example, brisk walking on a flat surface expends about 3.5 kcal/kg/h (1.6 METs), playing tennis expends about 8.8 kcal/kg/h, and a marathon run expends roughly 13-14 kcal/kg/h. The calorie needs of people vary according to their levels of physical activity. Physical activity directly increases your energy expenditure.
The more active you are, the higher your energy needs will be. Therefore, if you increase your level of physical activity, you will require more calories to maintain your weight.
In addition to increasing your calorie intake as you become more physically active, it may be necessary to adjust your diet as well as the amount of time spent being physically active so that those extra calories are not stored as body fat.
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