If you thought the only way to burn calories was to hit the gym or join the gang at boot camp, better think again. You’re burning calories right now, as you read through this article!
Burn, Baby, Burn
Your body burns calories all the time – even while you’re asleep. Basic functions like breathing, pumping blood through the heart, and even thinking while you sit in front of a computer, all require calories. Sure, when you throw in some exercise or other physical activity, you’ll burn more, but that doesn’t change the fact that your body is using up energy 24 hours a day.
The actual number of calories the body burns in a day varies from person to person. When you’re at rest, the number of calories you burn depends on a variety of factors, including height, weight, gender, age and genetics. Because men generally have more muscle mass, they tend to burn more calories at rest than women do. And as we age, we all begin to lose muscle, which means we’re using up fewer calories over the course of a day.
The Do-Nothing Lifestyle
But even if you’re mostly sedentary, do little more than sit at the office all day, and read or watch television at night, your body needs the calories it gets from food just to function properly and keep disease at bay.
Does that mean you can simply give up exercise forever, and still lose weight doing pretty much nothing? Well, technically – yes! Even a 5’6”, 30-year-old female who weighs 150 pounds will burn an average of 1700 calories in a day without exercise. If you’re careful enough to eat fewer calories than what you naturally use on a daily basis, eventually you’ll experience some weight loss.
Are we advocating giving up exercise? Of course not! Physical activity is important on many levels that go well beyond just dropping a few pounds. But if you can get a better idea of what your body’s caloric needs are, you might find you can lighten up just a little when it comes to that ongoing push to work out.
Chew Your Way Slim
There are online calorie calculators to help you find out just where you stand in terms of burning energy doing nothing. And once you’re armed with that knowledge, you’ll know how many calories you should be eating to maintain your weight. When you’re active, it’s okay to eat more. When you want to lose a few pounds, try and stay below that personalized level.
In either case, you should be sure to eat the fresh and nutritious meals that will give your body the healthy calories it needs to do nothing every day. And the next time you run short on the energy or motivation to hop on the treadmill, take a minute to consider this: chewing gum for an hour burns 11 calories. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, just remember that the extra 30