How Many Calories Does Reading Burn 2024: Surprising Facts

Think your reading time is just a calm escape? You might be surprised to learn “How Many Calories Does Reading Burn: Surprising Facts” about the energy expended during this peaceful activity.

How Many Calories Does Reading Burn?

Calorie Basics and the Metabolic Rate

Calories are the energy currency of your body. Even as you read this, your body burns calories to support essential life-sustaining functions like breathing, maintaining body temperature, and keeping your heart beating.

This is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed at rest all day.

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR):
    • Sitting quietly: Burns calories above BMR due to additional energy expenditure.
    • Reading: Further increases calorie burn as the brain functions, albeit minimally.

Reading vs. Physical Exercise

While reading, you’re seated and relatively motionless, but your brain is actively consuming glucose, contributing to a slight uptick in calorie burn. Compare this to physical exercise, where there’s a significant elevation in energy expenditure due to vigorous body movements:

  • Physical Exercise:
    • Intense movement: Rapid calorie burn.
    • Elevated heart rate: Much higher energy expenditure.

Reading burns fewer calories than physical activities but still more than just sitting idly.

Factors Influencing Calories Burned While Reading

Several factors affect how many calories you burn while reading:

  1. Weight: Heavier individuals tend to burn more calories.
  2. Intensity of Brain Function: Engrossing reads might increase your calorie burn slightly, as your brain function is more engaged.
  • Weight and Calorie Burn:

    Weight (lbs) Calories Burned per Hour
    140 67
    160 72
    180 86

Remember, even activities as simple as reading do contribute to your daily calorie burn and essentially, every bit counts when it comes to staying active in your literary pursuits!

Enhancing Calorie Burn Through Reading Activities

A person reading while walking on a treadmill, with a book in hand and a calorie counter displaying the number of calories burned

Boost your calorie expenditure while indulging in the joy of reading by making small yet impactful changes to your reading routine.

Optimizing Reading Environment

Your reading space can play an important role in how many calories you burn. By ensuring adequate light is present, you not only reduce eye strain but also help maintain a focus that keeps your metabolic rate slightly elevated compared to resting. A well-lit environment encourages alertness and a higher heart rate, paving the way for increased calorie burn.

Incorporating Light Physical Activity

While reading is sedentary, incorporating light activities can boost calorie expenditure. Consider:

  • Fidgeting: Tapping your feet, shaking a leg, or even using a stress ball can increase your activity level without disrupting your reading.
  • Standing: Use a standing desk or high table for reading. Standing burns more calories than sitting due to the involvement of larger muscle mass.
ActivityCalories Burned (per hour)
Sitting and Reading50-70 calories
Standing and ReadingUp to 100 calories
Fidgeting (additive)+ 30-40 calories

Combine these with breaks for exercise such as a quick walk or stretching for maximum calorie burning effects.

Reading Posture and Its Effects

Your posture directly impacts how many calories you burn during any activity, including reading. Sitting upright, instead of slouching, engages more muscles and thus can slightly up your caloric expenditure.

Ensure your back is straight and your shoulders are pulled back to engage your core and support a healthy reading pose, also beneficial for your spine and overall posture.

Lifestyle Considerations for Weight Management

A book lying open on a kitchen table with a calculator next to it, displaying a calorie count. An apple and a glass of water sit nearby

Embarking on a weight management journey isn’t only about what physical activities you partake in; it involves a holistic approach including your diet, daily routines, and mental well-being. Let’s dive into how incorporating reading into a balanced lifestyle can contribute to your weight management goals!

Balanced Diet and Reading

Your diet is foundational to weight management. When you settle down with a book, know that even though reading burns calories – approximately 50 to 60 calories per hour – it should complement a balanced diet. This means:

  • Aiming for a mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
  • Watching calorie intake to align with your weight management goals.
  • Enjoying meals that fuel both your body and brain, so you can focus on those pages!

Routine Activity Beyond Reading

While reading is a calming activity, it’s not a substitute for routine physical exercise. Strive to include activities that increase calorie burning. For example:

ActivityEstimated Calories Burned per Hour
Light Yoga183

Incorporating these into your daily or weekly routine can significantly boost your calorie burn and contribute to weight loss.

Stress and Mental Health

Reading can be a perfect way to manage stress, and a calm mind often leads to better weight management decisions. When you read, not only are you giving your brain a workout, potentially increasing blood flow and mental effort, but you’re also allowing yourself a mental break from the daily hustle which can help prevent mental exhaustion. Remember:

  • Stress can lead to comfort eating, so use reading as a stress-reliever.
  • Take breaks to avoid mental fatigue which could hinder your weight management plans.
  • Maintaining mental health is just as crucial as physical health for a balanced lifestyle.


Do I burn calories while reading?

Yes, you do burn calories while reading, as your brain and body are active during this process.

How many calories do you burn studying?

Studying can burn around 1.5 to 2 calories per minute, so you might burn approximately 90 to 120 calories per hour.

Does reading burn more calories than TV?

Reading generally burns more calories than watching TV due to the increased brain activity.

Is reading good for you to Lose Weight?

While reading isn’t a high-calorie-burning activity, it can contribute to weight loss by reducing stress and providing a passive alternative to more calorie-dense activities like snacking.

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