Monday Motivation: Calorie Burners

By Emily McLaughlin

Looking for some motivation this week? I know I am.

jogging MCT

This monday morning I sat down with the latest issue of “Self” magazine, turning the pages for a pick-me-up. What I found in their Drop10 section were calculations for how many calories per minute our favorite heart-pumping exercises eat up.
Here is a sampling of the list Self provided:

Beach volleyball: 8.6
     leisure – 6.4
     racing – 17.1 (Doesn’t this make you want to join UMass’s Bike Racing Club!)
Boxing: 9.6
     ballet, ballroom, tap, etc. – 5.1
     Zumba – 6.9 (Yahoo!)
     moderate – 6.9
     vigorous – 8.2
Inline skating: 13.4 (Wow! Try the Technogym Wave at the Rec Center to simulate inline skating.)
Jumping rope: 12.8
Pilates: 3.2
     5mph – 8.5
     6mph – 10.7
     7mph – 12.3
     stairs – 16 (Sounds exhausting!)
Spinning: 12.3
     3mph – 3.5
     4mph – 5.3
     5mph – 8.5
Yoga (Vinyasa) : 7.1
Now, what if you didn’t get to the gym? Well, you can burn calories throughout your day with simple tasks:

Eating: 1.6 (Yes, you burn calories as you chew!)
Gardening: 4.8
Mopping: 3.2
Playing with the dog: 5.3
Shopping: 2.4
Sleeping: 0.9 (Sleeping?! What?!)
Typing: 1.6
Vacuuming: 3.7
I found all of these stats fairly motivating, but still had a few unanswered questions concerning calories.
First, how accurate are these numbers? The calories burned per minute are based on a 135-pound woman. These numbers will vary across the board depending on your weight, height and level of effort you are putting into a given activity. Work harder and you will burn more calories–it is as simple as that.
Next, what is an appropriate number of calories a person should be consuming and burning over the course of the day to maintain their weight? This number, I found, depends on your activeness, goals, weight, height, gender… and a few other factors. There is a great calculator online that determines about how many calories you burn in a typical day (aka your daily caloric expenditure). This number varies slightly depending on your activity level. To maintain your weight, your caloric consumption should be right around your caloric expenditure.
What if I want to lose weight? If you are looking to lose weight, there is just some simple math that needs to be done: burn more calories than you are taking in. You can use the information from the calculator above to help you figure out how many calories you should be consuming to maintain your weight. From here, all you need to do is subtract a few calories and up your activity level. This means that your caloric expenditure will be higher than your caloric consumption. Remember that on active days, it is okay to have more than your suggested or desired calorie intake.

Lastly, as always, make sure you are eating nutritious meals and not restricting your calories too much – eating too little or losing weight rapidly can be unhealthy and dangerous.
My advice to you all this week: Don’t beat yourself up on those days you really can’t make it to the gym. Odds are you are burning calories by typing, cleaning, washing dishes, cooking and running around doing errands. Also, since spring is in the air, keep exercising exciting. Hit the pavement or the walking trails to switch up your normal routine. If these are not options for you, try some new classes at the gym. Spinning burns 12.3+ calories per minute and Zumba burns 6.9+. Work hard and you will feel great!

Stay healthy and you will be happy!
Emily McLaughlin can be reached at [email protected]. Check out Emily’s blog at: