Everything you do burns calories—walking, talking, eating, sleeping and even sitting at your computer just reading these words and breathing. How many calories, of course, is a different story.
Obviously, a one hour run will burn more calories than a leisurely stroll through the park or doing household chores. The number of calories that you burn in a given time is also affected by how much you weigh and your age.
For example, a person who is 190lbs and 15 years old will burn more calories than someone who is the same weight but who is 20 years old.
Also, since everyone is different, people burn calories differently. This relates to a person’s Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR, which is the number of calories that you burn at rest.
For women, your BMR can be calculated using: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years).
For men, your BMR can be calculated using: BMR = BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in year).
For those who prefer not to do the calculations manually, a BMR calculator can be helpful.
Physical activity increases your metabolic rate. When it comes to burning calories, it doesn’t matter what you do, just as long as you get moving. The key is to keep your blood pumping for a sustained “burn.”
Increasing metabolism has a direct effect on your Daily Calorie Expenditure (DCE), which adds to the BMR variables a factor for “activity.” The five general classifications of activity level are Sedentary, Lightly Active, Moderately Active, Very Active and Extremely Active.
If you are trying to lose weight, DCE is the number you are probably the most concerned with since it will give you, once you add or subtract the number of calories from foods eaten, your net calorie intake.
For those looking to lose weight, this is super handy to know since it will help you to figure out how many calories you need to burn to create a “deficit” and achieve your weight loss goals.
Another handy piece of information that helps with burning calories is your Target Heart Rate (THR). This is the number of beats per minute that you should aim to reach in order to burn a maximum amount of fat.
Although there are no universally accepted formulae for accurately predicting heart rate, a simple THR Calculator can provide a range of rates for various types of exercise activities.
The best way to track your heart’s beats per minute is to use a heart rate monitor. Many newer cardio machines have these built in and can provide an acceptable reading.
You burn calories simply by breathing and functioning normally, so burning extra calories is largely a matter of doing more of what you already do. Simply increase the duration or intensity.
Walk or bike to the store instead of driving. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Activate, don’t vegetate, and the calories will burn, baby, burn.
Alfablue, January 2013