You might think the answer to this question is HIIT training, cardio or some kind of sport. In actual fact, it is your metabolism that burns the most calories in a day.
Yep, you burn more calories simply existing than you will through any other activity. This is because of your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Your BMR represents the number of calories needed to perform your body's most basic functions such as breathing, circulation and cell production. Your BMR accounts for around 70% of your total daily energy expenditure! Let that sink in…
The remaining 30% of your total daily energy expenditure is made up of your changeable metabolism, which can be manipulated by lifestyle factors;
· Daily movement accounts for around 15% of your total daily metabolism and includes activities such as walking, fidgeting, doing the dishes, hanging out the laundry etc.
· Eating food can burn up to 10% of your total daily calorie expenditure. This occurs through breaking down, digesting and metabolising your food.
· Exercise will typically burn the least calories ranging from around 5% of your total daily metabolism for you and me, to up to 15% if you are an elite athlete.
This is a perfect time to highlight why you cannot out train an unhealthy diet. You will never be able to burn more calories through exercise than your BMR. This means that there is a definite limit to how many calories you can consume in a day, no matter how much you exercise.
Your BMR will remain largely unchanged as you age. The next best way to burn calories is to move more on a daily basis. Daily movement (for example walking) will have a more significant impact on your total daily calorie expenditure than exercise. So start taking the stairs, go for more short walks, get off a stop earlier on the commute to work or take up an active hobby.
If you are looking to lose weight or tone up, start moving more and really pay attention to what you eat.