Calories refer to energy and specifically a single calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius, which is nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit. So when you are burning calories, what you are really doing is using your body’s energy. We measure the amount of energy burned by calories, and greater or longer lasting activity will burn calories at a quicker rate.
Pretty much anything you do will help you burn calories. This includes walking up and down your own stairs, vacuuming the floors, running errands to the store or moderate play with your pet. Most of us want to know how to burn calories more efficiently, and how to burn more calories overall.
A basic rule of nutrition is that your calorie intake (what you eat and drink) should not exceed the amount of calories you burn. In fact, if you can reduce calorie intake to lower than what you are burning, you are very likely to lose weight. This is because we have stored energy in areas like fat. If we’re not taking in enough calories, then a healthy body is likely to start accessing that stored energy for its energy needs.
What can you do to burn calories at a quicker rate? There are plenty of things. Taking a walk for about half an hour at a leisurely pace burns about 90 calories. If you want to increase your calorie burning, you can pick up your pace. If you can walk at a rate of about 3 miles per hour (4.2 km per hour), you can burn approximately 200 calories in a 30-minute period. That might be enough to allow you to have a few cookies after dinner, or simply to slowly drop some weight.
It’s important to reiterate that we burn calories at virtually all times, and you can choose other activities to increase calorie burn. Increasing the amount of time you walk anywhere will help you burn more calories. For instance, taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator will be a better method for using up calories. Parking a distance from stores or your office gives you another chance to burn some more calories.
Plenty of gentle sports suited to lots of people can help you increase energy output. Consider activities like tai chi or yoga. Even fun things like listening to 20 minutes of music a day may help you burn an additional calorie a minute. If you're interested in more ways to burn calories check out diet or exercise books or online calorie calculators which can help you determine how much energy each activity uses.