Resting metabolic rate (RMR) refers to the amount of energy, measured in calories, that our body uses to maintain vital functions such as breathing, blood circulation, and maintaining body temperature while at rest. It is also known as basal metabolic rate (BMR) and is one of the most important factors that determine an individual's daily energy needs. RMR is influenced by several factors such as age, gender, body composition, genetics, and environmental factors such as diet and exercise.
The RMR is typically measured in a lab using a machine called a metabolic analyzer. The analyzer measures the amount of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced by the body while at rest, which is used to calculate the RMR. This test is typically done in the morning after a 12-hour overnight fast and in a thermally neutral environment to avoid any external influences on the RMR.
The RMR is the largest contributor to an individual's daily energy expenditure, accounting for up to 70% of their total energy needs. This means that even when we are resting, our body is using a significant amount of energy. The amount of energy required for RMR varies between individuals and is influenced by several factors.
One of the most significant factors influencing RMR is body composition, particularly the amount of lean muscle mass in the body. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, meaning it requires more energy to maintain. This means that individuals with higher amounts of lean muscle mass will have a higher RMR than those with a higher percentage of body fat.
Age and gender also play a role in RMR. As we age, our body's metabolic rate tends to slow down, leading to a decrease in RMR. This decline is more significant in women than in men, as women tend to have a higher percentage of body fat and lower amounts of lean muscle mass than men. Hormonal changes such as menopause can also lead to a decrease in RMR in women.
Genetics can also influence RMR. Some individuals may have a naturally higher or lower RMR due to genetic factors, meaning they may require more or less energy to maintain vital functions while at rest. However, lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can also influence RMR and can help individuals increase or decrease their RMR.
Environmental factors such as diet and exercise can also influence RMR. A diet that is high in protein can increase RMR as it requires more energy to digest and metabolize protein than carbohydrates or fat. Regular exercise, particularly resistance training, can increase lean muscle mass and therefore increase RMR.
In conclusion, resting metabolic rate is an important factor that influences an individual's daily energy needs. It is influenced by several factors such as body composition, age, gender, genetics, and lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. Understanding RMR is important for individuals who are looking to manage their weight and improve their overall health, as it can help them understand their daily energy needs and make informed decisions about their diet and exercise habits.