How To Calculate The Calorie Burn While Exercising?

how to calculate the calories burned during exercise

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    We all know that weight has become a significant health issue. Your body weight can directly impact your self-esteem. Research shows losing about 5-10 per cent of your initial weight leads to improved health. It doesn’t mean that you should stop here, though. Instead, you can set a primary goal of losing 5-10 per cent weight of your initial weight.

    While talking about weight loss, your calories intake versus calories outtake is worth considering. That’s why it is crucial to know how many calories are you burning while exercising to make a significant difference. This way, you can correctly calculate and effectively control your diet and prevent obesity.

    Before getting into the details, let’s understand what a calorie is.

    What Is A Calorie?

    Calories are present in the food we consume daily. They provide energy to our body in the form of heat energy. This assists in the proper functioning of our bodies. A calorie is a measurement unit defined as the amount of heat required to raise 1 gram of water temperature by 1 degree celsius.

    However, when we talk about calories present in the food, it refers to the number of kilo-calories a specific food item has.

    To lose weight, you will have to reduce calories (energy IN). Plus, you will have to shift your focus on performing exercises and other physical activities (energy OUT).

    As a general rule, to lose 1-1 ½ pounds of weight every week, you should reduce your daily intake by about 500 to 750 calories.

    Note: Following a rather low-calorie diet with an intake of 800 calories or less every day can be harmful to you. You must not follow it unless prescribed or monitored by a doctor or expert.

    The Importance Of Calculating The Calorie Burn

    There are several ways to burn calories — exercises and other physical activities can also burn calories. But do you know the number of calories a specific exercise can burn?

    When you’re trying to lose weight, burning calories can accelerate your fitness goals. It also helps prevent obesity and lower the risk of cancer and diabetes.

    Some factors that contribute to how quickly you can burn calories:

    • Your body weight: Overweight people tend to burn more calories comparatively.
    • Your body composition: As muscles require more energy to maintain a healthy body, people with more muscle composition can burn calories faster.
    • The Intensity of your physical activities: If you perform high-intensity exercise, you will burn more calories.

    Must Read: Is Running Good To Lose Weight And Burn Fat?

    Calorie Burned Formula

    You don’t have to be a pro or a nutritionist to calculate the total number of calories burned while exercising; you just need a simple calculator. Here is the formula to calculate the total number of calories burned.

    Total calories burned in an hour = MET value of exercise x your weight (in kg)

    Almost all calculators feature an inbuilt activity MET, i.e. Metabolic equivalent for the task.

    What Is Metabolic Equivalent?

    MET is the ratio of your working metabolic rate to your relative metabolic rate. A rate of energy spent per unit of time — metabolic rate is another way to define any exercise’s intensity.

    The energy you spend by just sitting or staying idle is equivalent to 1 MET. It is also known as basal or resting metabolic rate (BMR). Hence, if you perform physical activity with a MET value of 5, you have spent five times the energy that you might have spent resting.

    Must Read: What Is The Best Time To Exercise?

    How Is MET Calculated?

    To calculate MET, we must know how our body uses energy.

    The muscle cells use oxygen to create energy so that our muscles can move or function.

    1 MET = 3.5 mL oxygen consumed per kg of body weight per minute (approx.)

    Now, if you weigh 65 kg, you will end up consuming 227.5 millilitres of oxygen per minute while sitting (65 kg x 3.5 mL)

    Knowing your MET value can help you plan your workout efficiently. The Compendium of Physical Activities has provided MET values for a wide range of activities, making it easier to calculate the calories burned during those activities.

    How To Calculate Calorie Burn During Exercises?

    Once you know each physical activity’s MET, figuring out the formula for calorie burn during an exercise is a no-brainer. For calculating the number of calories you burn while exercising, follow these steps:

    Calories burned per hour = MET x weight in kg

    Now, if you want to know the total calories burned in half an hour, you will have to divide this value by 2 and for 15 minutes, you will have to divide it by 4.

    Let’s consider an example for better understanding:

    If you weigh around 150 pounds (68 kg approx.) and plan to swim, the formula to calculate the calories burned in an hour is:

    MET value for swimming as per The Compendium of Physical Activities is 5.8

    Calories burned per hour = 5.8 x 68 = 394.4 calories per hour

    Furthermore, here is a table that shows how many calories you can burn while doing these activities:

            Physical activity       MET value Calories burned per hour
    Walking at a moderate pace (2.8-3 mph)                3.5 238 calories per hour
    Hatha Yoga                2.5 170 calories per hour
    Power Yoga                  4 272 calories per hour
    Squats                  5 340 calories per hour
    Cycling at a moderate pace               6.8 462 calories per hour
    Burpees                  8 544 calories per hour

    Must Read: Which Exercises Burn Most Calories?

    How do I calculate my daily calorie burn?

    To figure out how many calories you’re burning daily, there is a simple formula: multiply your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) by your average activity levels.

    BMR is the number of calories burned by a person simply by resting. BMR value depends on factors like age, weight, and height.

    Here is how you can calculate your BMR value:

    For Men: 66 + (6.2 x weight) + (12.7 x height) – (6.76 x age)

    For Women: 655 + (4.35 x weight) + (4.7 x height) – (4.7 x age)

    For activity levels, you can refer to the following:

    • For a sedentary lifestyle, the activity level is 1.2 points
    • For a slightly active lifestyle, it is 1.37 points
    • For a moderately active lifestyle, it is 1.55 points
    • For an active lifestyle, it is 1.75 points
    • For a very active lifestyle, it is 1.9 points

    Now, if you are a 30-year-old female, 5-foot tall (60 inches), and 150-pound weight and follow a moderately active lifestyle, the formula would be:

    Total calories burned in a day = BMR x 1.55

    BMR = 655 + (4.35 x 150) + (4.7 x 60) – (4.7 x 30) = 1448.5

    Hence, Total calories burned in a day = 1448.5 x 1.55 = 2,245. 17

    Must Read: What Are The Essentials Of A Safe Workout?

    While some people have a habit of counting the number of calories present in the food or the diet they follow, some prefer keeping a count of calories they burn while working out to reach their fitness goals.

    However, remember not to get these numbers to your head. You can keep these calculations simple and go with the estimates. This way, you can focus properly on your goals and follow a healthy lifestyle.

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    About The Author

    Mrinal Pandit

    Mrinal Pandit

    Mrinal Pandit is a registered dietician, diabetic educator & counsellor. She has done her bachelor's from the University of Kolhapur in Food Technology Management. Post her bachelor's; she did her Masters in Health Sciences (Dietetics) from the reputed University of Pune. Mrinal believes that the key to leading a healthy life and wellbeing is to celebrate food and bodies. At Oliva Clinics, Mrinal is the chief nutritionist. She supervises our nutritional staff and helps establish policies and procedures, and provides administrative direction. Before joining Oliva Skin & Hair clinics, she was the chief dietician with Nephroplus.

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