• Do Heavier People Burn More Calories and When is Heavy Healthy?

    Do Heavier People Burn More Calories and When is Heavy Healthy?

If you are overweight and looking to shed a few pounds, you might be surprised to learn that your current weight could give you a little boost. This is because, when other factors are equal, heavier people burn more calories while completing the same exercise routines. However, there are several variables that affect the number of calories you’ll burn while exercising. Because of this, you can’t solely count on your weight to help you burn calories more quickly.

Why Heavier People Burn More Calories

Simply put, a calorie is a unit of energy and the number of calories you burn is actually a measure of the energy required to move your body. Heavier people require more energy to move their bodies, so you’ll typically burn more calories at a greater weight.

Basically, the more you weigh, the more energy it takes for your body to move and function. This means that a heavier person will burn more calories as compared to a lighter person performing the same activities. This applies to both people who are overweight as well as those with higher muscle mass. It makes no difference to burn calories. However, those with a higher muscle mass will burn even more calories.

Flab Versus Muscle Mass

Though weight affects the calories you burn, muscle mass plays an immensely important role. Muscle burns more calories than fat, plain and simple. For example, two people doing the same exercise may experience different outcomes based on their muscle mass. If one person has high muscle mass and the other person has low muscle mass, though they weigh the same, the person with higher muscle mass will burn more calories. To sum up, you cannot rely on your weight alone to predict the number of calories you will burn because your body composition matters as well.

The Weight Loss Paradox

If you’ve been trying to lose weight but are noticing that your weight loss has slowed down over time, you may be experiencing the weight loss paradox. This is because the more weight you lose, the less your body has to work to exercise. Thus, fewer calories are burned. This is why it is so difficult to lose those last five or ten “vanity” pounds. In short, this means that if you lose weight, it will often become difficult to lose more weight.

Other Factors

Your intensity while exercising could determine how many calories you burn. A heavier person may burn fewer calories than a lighter person, for example, if they run uphill or at a faster speed.

What Does it Mean to Be Overweight?

If you are overweight, it simply means you have extra body weight from muscle, bone, fat, and water. Obesity is having a high amount of body fat.

What Factors Contribute to a Healthy Weight?

There is still a lot we don’t understand about the connection between weight and health. While obesity may contribute to certain conditions like high blood pressure, it also may help in the recovery from a stroke. That being said, there are many factors that contribute to a person’s weight and overall health. These factors include genetics, family history, environment, metabolism, and habits. 

When is Being Heavy Healthy?

As we discussed above, many heavy people can have a healthy BMI and be overweight. However, what might come with come controversy is the idea that being overweight might not mean that you are unhealthy.

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, being overweight doesn’t necessarily make you unhealthy automatically. This should come as no surprise to sports fans because elite athletes can appear to be overweight. However, new studies confirm that overweight people have a 50/50 chance of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or elevated blood sugar levels. 

The idea of an “ideal” body weight has come under a lot of scrutiny lately. Now, all of this isn’t to say that being overweight or obese is safe, just that it comes with a little more nuanced than previously expected. As always, please consult your doctor when considering making any dietary or exercise changes. If you are looking to keep your weight and health on track, try these apps!

Looking to Improve Your Fitness Over 50? Learn how with this easy to download eBook!

Confident Living is a continuing care at home membership program, focused on helping you remain active and independent as you age in your own home. We serve the greater Cincinnati area. For more information, contact us online or call (513) 719-3522.