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Burning calories: Anything you want to know about it

How many calories do you burn with daily activities? With which sport do you burn the most calories? How do you make sure you burn more calories while sitting on the couch? And which diet contains few calories?

You'll discover it all in this article.

What are calories?

We use the word calories to indicate how much energy our body takes in and uses. Just like we use meters to indicate a distance. So a calorie is not some kind of substance in your diet.

I'm sure you've come across the term kcal on packaging before. It stands for kilocalorie, or 1000 calories.

The terms kcal and calorie are used interchangeably in practice. We often say calories, while we are actually talking about kilocalories. For example: running burns 560 calories in an hour. Actually, these are kilocalories, or 560,000 calories.

Also in this article we use the term calories for convenience.

Burning calories

In the tables below you can read how many calories you burn per hour with different activities.

Your exact calorie consumption depends on your age, weight and muscle mass.

The middle column shows how many calories you burn per hour if you weigh 70 kilos.

Are you heavier than 70 kilos? Then you probably burn more calories per hour. If you're lighter, you'll probably burn a little less calories.

In the right-hand column you will find the MET value. This is the amount of calories you burn per hour per kilo of body weight. This allows you to calculate your calorie consumption. Multiply the MET value by your weight.

How many calories do you burn with daily activities?

Activity                      Calories per hour at a body weight of 70 kilograms        WIT-value

Round walk                                                                 245                                        3,5
Quiet stair climbing                                                     280                                        4
Fast climbing stairs                                                     616                                        8.8
Dishwashing                                                               175                                        2,5
Light household chores                                               196                                        2.8
Intensive household chores                                         301                                        4,3
Shopping                                                                     161                                        2.3
Dog exhausts                                                               210                                        3
Gardening                                                                    266                                        3.8

How many calories do you burn with sports and exercise.

Activity                          Calories per hour at a body weight of 70 kilograms     WIT-value

Quiet walking (max 5 km/hour)                                   245                                         3,5
Hiking (5-6 km/hour)                                                   301                                         4.3
Nordic walking                                                             336                                         4,8
Walking fast pace (6-7 km/hour)                                  350                                         5
Running                                                                        560                                         8
Quiet cycling (max 16 km/hour)                                  280                                         4
Cycling (16-19 km/hour)                                              476                                         6.8
Intensive cycling (19-22 km/h)                                     560                                         8
Cycling                                                                          1106                                        15,8
Footballs                                                                        490                                         7
Recreational swimming                                                 245                                         3,5
Intensive swimming                                                       686                                         9.8
Tennis                                                                              511                                         7,3
Badminton                                                                       385                                         5.5
Table tennis                                                                      280                                         4
Squash                                                                              511                                         7,3
Fitness                                                                              385                                         5.5 
Aerobics                                                                            511                                         7.3
Trampoline jumping                                                          280                                         4
Hockey                                                                              546                                         7.8
Judo                                                                                   721                                         10,3
Aerobics                                                                             511                                         7.3
Rowing                                                                              245                                         3,5
Horseback riding                                                               385                                         5,5
Skateboarding                                                                    490                                         7
Skeeleren                                                                           350                                         5
Skating                                                                               490                                         7

Burning calories with doing nothing

Did you know that you consume the most calories at rest? For example, while lying in bed or sitting on the couch? Energy is needed all the time for all kinds of body processes, such as:

  •     Your breathing
  •     The beating of your heart
  •     Staying on temperature
  •     The creation of new cells

About 80% of our total calorie consumption goes into these processes. We call this energy consumption while doing "nothing" homeostasis, basal metabolism or rest metabolism.

Burning as many calories as possible? I'd rather not.

If you want to lose weight, you want to make sure that your body is short of calories, so that the shortage is filled by taking energy from body fat.

However, it is not wise to burn as many calories as possible by exercising for a long time. Prolonged exercise can cause you to produce stress hormones.

Stress hormones give your body the message that you need to use your energy supply (or body fat) sparingly and that you need to build up extra reserves. As a result, it is more difficult to burn fat and store fat faster.

In addition, prolonged exercise can cause your muscles to break down (to release energy) and you get more hungry.

Exercise is healthy and can help you lose weight, but don't exaggerate, otherwise it can actually work against you.

More muscles = higher calorie consumption.

As you read earlier, your calorie consumption is influenced by:

  •     Your age
  •     Your weight
  •     Your muscle mass

Of course, you can't influence your age and get heavier to burn more calories nobody wants. If you read this article, I assume that you want to lose weight or prevent you from gaining weight.

The latter, your muscle mass, can influence you. The more muscles you have, the more calories you burn.

Muscles do not only increase your calorie consumption when you're on the move. Even if you sit or lie down, you burn more calories if you have more muscles.

That's why it's a good idea to do strength training to gain more muscle mass. You don't have to think of huge muscle balls right away. Strength training goes well with a slim (and feminine) body.

Moreover, short strength training sessions have a positive influence on your hormones.

Getting fewer calories (low calorie diet).

Limiting your calorie intake is a lot easier than burning more calories. If you want to lose weight, it is therefore important to pay attention to this as well.

Below are lists of examples of healthy and low-calorie diets.


  •     Save
  •     Tomato
  •     Cucumber
  •     Radishes
  •     Rucola
  •     Leek
  •     Paprika
  •     Carrot

  •     Asparagus
  •     Courgette
  •     Celery
  •     Fennel
  •     Red beets
  •     Broccoli
  •     Cauliflower
  •     Kale

  •     Spinach
  •     Endive
  •     Chicory
  •     Brussels sprouts
  •     Paksoi
  •     Mushrooms
  •     Watercress


  •     Strawberries
  •     Blueberries
  •     Raspberries
  •     Grapes
  •     Blackberries

  •     Lemon
  •     Lime
  •     Melon
  •     Apples
  •     Apricot

  •     Nectarine
  •     Peach
  •     Kiwi
  •     Rhubarb
  •     Grapefruit

Pseudo cereals and pulses

  •     Rice cakes
  •     Corn waffles
  •     Lentils
  •     Beans
  •     Peas

  •     Buckwheat
  •     Teff
  •     Quinoa
  •     Bulgur
  •     Wild rice

Meat and fish

  •     Chicken and turkey fillet
  •     Pollock
  •     Cod

  •     Slibtong
  •     Monkfish
  •     Albacore tuna


  •     Hüttenkäse
  •     Skimmed curd cheese
  •     Greek yogurt

  •     Sheep's yoghurt
  •     Goat yoghurt
  •     Full yoghurt

Don't be afraid of high-calorie food

Although this article is about burning calories and getting fewer calories, we also want to give you that eating high-calorie food doesn't have to be bad. In fact, if you avoid it altogether, your nutrients may be deficient.

When it comes to healthy eating, it's always about the whole package. An avocado, for example, is rich in calories, but you also get healthy fats, fibres, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A healthy choice.

Despite the many calories, an avocado doesn't have to make you fat. This piece of fruit saturates well, which makes you less hungry.

This also applies to eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and kernels.

Nutrition rich in calories to avoid

Calories from refined sugar and refined carbohydrates should be avoided. Think for example of white bread, biscuits, sweets, pastries, croissants, soft drinks, syrups and granulated sugar.

These foods provide empty calories: they do not contain any valuable nutrients. Moreover, they are linked to:

  •     More appetite
  •     Overweight
  •     Insulin resistance
  •     Diabetes type 2

In a nutshell

Below you will find seven important points from this article again briefly summarized:

  1. Most calories are burned at rest.
  2. It's not a good idea to exercise for a long time to burn as many calories as possible.
  3. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn.
  4. Power training helps you to burn more calories throughout the day and is good for your hormone balance.
  5. Eating fewer calories is easier than burning more.
  6. There is a lot of food that is healthy and rich in calories. Avoiding it altogether is not wise and can cause nutrient deficiencies.
  7. Avoid empty calories from refined sugar and refined carbohydrates.



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