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The energy balance is quite simply the difference between energy input in the form of calories in food and drink and energy output in the form of calories used up in living - body functions,normal activity and exercise.If these are correctly balanced your weight will remain constant and you will be physically fit.
If,however,the energy input is too high and it is not used up in activity it will be stored in the form of body fat.If this goes on for too long the result is obesity.If the energy store is too low,the body will start to use up whatever store of fat it happens to have.This will result in weight loss which if carried too far can lead to malnutrition and ill health.
The cumulitive effect of eating only a little too much every day could prove to be disastrous.In theory,even one extra tortilla chip per day could eventually make you pounds overweight.Equally a small but regular cut-back in your sporting activity with no change in diet could produce the same effect.
So how much energy or calorific input do you need?
First of all,energy is required to maintain the fundamental processes of life.The heart must keep beating,body temperature mainained and organs kept functioning.This requirement is called the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and is measured when a person is resting.
Size or body weight has a significant effect on energy requirements.For example,a rugby player weighing 90kg/198lb has to exert 50% more effort to run around a pitch than a team mate weighing 60kg/132lb but he may not have a 50% greater reserve of energy.This illustrates not only the importance of training and diet for particular sports but also the stress which can be placed on the body through obesity.
Because women tend to be smaller and lighter than men their basal rates are lower.There is also a gender difference of around 100 or so calories.Height has only a small effect but research shows that BMR decreases with age.For every 10years over 25 the energy requirement is reduced by 4%.
As well as covering the BMR,calories are needed for everyday chores such as washing,dressing,eating,walking about,sitting and so on.They are also needed to cover your leisure activities and the work that you do.People doing heavy work will need more calories than those in a less challenging job.
Estimated Average Requirements (EARs) for Energy
15-18years 2755 2110
19-50years 2550 1940
51-59years 2550 1900
60-64years 2380 1900
65-74years 2330 1900
75 + years 2100 1810
Energy Expenditure in Sports
calories expended per minute according to weight
Activity 56kg 62kg 68kg 74kg
Badminton 5.4 6.0 6.6 7.2
Basketball 7.7 8.6 9.4 10.2
Boxing in the ring 7.7 8.6 9.4 10.2
sparring 12.4 13.8 15.1 16.4
leisure 2.5 2.7 3.0 3.3
racing 5.8 6.4 7.0 7.6
with no load 6.8 7.5 8.2 9.0
with 10kg load 7.2 8.0 8.8 9.5
batting 4.6 5.1 5.6 6.1
bowling 5.0 5.6 6.1 6.7
leisure 5.6 6.2 6.8 7.4
racing 9.5 10.5 11.5 12.5
medium 5.8 6.4 7.0 7.6
intense 7.5 8.3 9.2 10.0
Field hockey 7.5 8.3 9.1 9.9
Football 7.4 8.2 9.0 9.8
Golf 4.8 5.3 5.8 6.3
Gymnastics 3.7 4.1 4.5 4.9
Judo 10.9 12.1 13.3 14.4
Walking at normal pace 4.6 5.1 5.3 6.0