The human body is a marvelously designed machine, even the most sophisticated and advanced machine of the world holds no comparison to it. Most of its functions never stop even if a machine is put to rest (that is sleep). From the moment we take birth our body starts burning calorie and the process stops only at death. The very start of life is considered normal only when the child shows some signs of physical activities, like crying, moving limbs, etc. this series of activity is also continuous till last breath, only its nature keeps on changing from time to time, as in childhood we might involve in completely different activities compared to adulthood or old age. All these series of voluntary and involuntary activities of life require energy or fuel for the body. This energy comes from the food that we eat called ‘calories’.
Calorie expenditure is the amount of energy that a person needs to carry out physical functions such as breathing, circulating blood, digesting food, or exercising.
The requirement of the body for calories depends on the effort it has to bring to keep all the normal functions of his life going smoothly. The expenditure or burning of the calorie in the body depends on various things some of them are as follows:
• Physical activity- the requirement of calories mostly affected by the type of physical activity a person is involved in. An office going man doing a normal desk job will require much less energy than a daily wager, who has to carry loads of brick to many stories. Similarly, a bed-ridden old man would require lesser calories than an office going man. An athlete will require more calories than a cricketer as his sports regime is more vigorous than playing cricket. In cricket also a bowler’s calorie requirement would be higher than that of a batsman. Thus, we see how much physical activity affects the requirement of energy in the body.
• Gender- generally a male will utilize more energy than a female for the same task. This is because of the fact that the ‘Calories Expenditure at Rest’ of males is always more than females, thus whenever they do any physical work of the same level and same time, males will automatically burn more calories in total than females.
• Body size- a taller or leaner person will burn more calories than a shorter or fatter person, for the same task.
• Weather- we tend to burn more calories in a colder climate than in hotter ones. Our body has to burn extra calories to maintain its temperature in cold weather and to keep us warm, whereas in hot weather there is no such requirement.
• Age- growing children require more energy than adults, of course to meet the demand of a growing and developing body.
• Special physical conditions- during fever, the body burns extra energy (that is why body temperature is raised), there is an increase in calorie burning in the body by 10 % per degree centigrade increase in body temperature. To avoid weakness patients are given some extra calories. In conditions like pregnancy and lactation also body requires extra calories to meet the extra demand for energy.
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