Calories Burned: Unusual Ways To Burn Them
Calories burned when you aren’t thinking about it are the best kind- it means you aren’t putting in any intentional effort.
Your metabolism is always working to burn calories- and of course, in excess during periods of higher activity.
FYI- a calorie is a unit of energy, specifically the amount of energy required to heat one litre of water by one degree, if anyone cares.
Do We Burn Calories When Resting?
Even at rest, your body is always expending energy– even breathing burns calories. This energy expenditure is classified as a person’s Basal Metabolic Rate- the amount of energy the body uses to support the functions of its organs.
The organs that require the most energy usage are the liver, brain and skeletal muscle. Also, a fun fact that explains why you aren’t able to think as clearly when hungry, is that the brain alone uses 1/5 of your resting rate of energy. So, when you’re deprived of energy (e.g. food), your brain’s function is limited.
Calories Burned: Exercise
There are two other ways in which your body uses energy, called the Thermic Effect Of Food (TEF) and the Thermic Effect Of Physical Activity (TEPA).
TEF refers to the energy the body uses to convert the food in to more energy or to move it somewhere to be stored (as fat), for use at a later time. This energy expenditure makes up about 10% of daily expenditure.
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TEPA accounts for the rest of the energy expenditure- about 15-30% of daily output.
There are two sub-sections of TEPA: planned and spontaneous exercise. While exercise that you intentionally do eg. a weights session or workout class, will burn a certain amount of calories and be an important contributing factor in weight loss, the unintentional physical activity you do will also be a big factor.
Why We Need To Focus On NEAT
This spontaneous, unplanned exercise is referred to as NEAT (non- exercise activity thermogenesis), which maximises the amount of calories burned in a day. Anything you do while awake that isn’t intentional exercise, counts as NEAT.
One major factor in our levels of NEAT is our occupations- naturally, an office worker is going to get less NEAT in than a builder or personal trainer, for example.
The difference between energy expenditure between sedentary and active jobs can go in to hundreds and hundreds of calories.
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The truth is, these days we just don’t move as much. We spend more time glued to our sofas and phones, our office chairs and in our cars.
Calories Burned: How To Increase Your NEAT
Incorporating these simple steps in to your routine will help you achieve more of a calorific deficit, and help you lose weight quicker (if that’s your goal).
Of course, your eating habits will have a major affect on your rate of weight loss and size of calorie deficit, helped by habits like intermittent fasting and dieting, but just incorporating these simple habits will help you more than you know.
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- Stand Up- this one sounds almost obvious, but standing up on public transport, or just while doing every day tasks, will speed up energy exertion.
- Get Your Steps In– health experts tend to promote around 10,000 calories a day as a healthy, yet realistic target to aim for. Not only will you accelerate your energy expenditure, you’ll probably save money on transport in the process.
- Tasks Around The House- don’t be lazy! Give your house/ room a clean up. Not just a dust over, either- give it a full once over! You’ll work up a bit of a sweat and get a clean, tidy house in the process.
- Play With Your Kids/ Pets– this one’s the perfect example of having fun whilst not realising that you’re burning through calories as you’re doing it.
Some More Unusual Ways To Burn Calories
Exposing yourself to the cold might actually do you more good than you know- it raises your metabolic rate by stimulating brown fat activity in your body.
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This one’s a given really- moving your jaw repeatedly is going to generate some kind of calorie depletion.
Not only will you be doing good for someone else, you’ll also be burning a few cals in the process- so, treating yourself to a cheat meal after is even more justified.
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Finally, one of the best things in life isn’t only good for your brain and general wellbeing, but it also burns calories while you’re struggling to breathe through fits of laughter. Win- win?