Just like rupees and dollars, the currency your body uses to conduct all its dealings is called energy. More the investment, more the money saved; similarly, more the energy, more the reserve for your body. However, when we start spending energy, we start utilizing this reserve. The only difference between money and energy is that saving the latter will lead to undesired outcomes. Learn to invest wisely for your body with BodyFirst®.

Broadly, there are three mediums for energy expenditure:

  • Basal metabolic rate (BMR):
    It’s the energy spent for metabolic processes when one is at rest but awake. The energy in this case is utilized for the functioning of vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys etc. The factors that affect BMR are as follows:
    FactorEffect on BMR
    Body lean mass More the lean mass, higher the BMR
    Body surface area Taller or obese individuals with a larger surface area have a higher BMR
    Diet The lower the intake of calories in the form of restrictive diets, the lesser the energy spent on digestion and hence lower BMR
    Temperature Environmental and body temperature both effect BMR. With a rise in body temperature due to illness, BMR also increases. In extreme climatic conditions (cold or continuous heat), BMR increases.
    Exercise Exercise contributes to an increase in lean muscle which helps raising BMR
    Hormones An elevation in hormone levels of thyroxine and adrenaline, increase BMR
    Age As one gets older, BMR drops
    Genetics Genes can also predefine your BMR.
  • Specific dynamic action or Thermic effect of food: It is the energy that is spent in the digestion of food. Approximately 10% of the energy ingested is utilized in the process of food digestion. However, different foods have different digestibility properties. For instance, fat is easier to digest than protein, hence, the thermic effect of protein is higher than fat.
    Fibre rich foods also require more effort to be digested and thus have a greater thermic effect. Vegetables and fruits which are fibre rich are also low in calories. In this case, the energy spent to digest the food can be more than the calories of the food item itself causing a negative calorie effect.
  • Physical activity: While the above two parameters of energy expenditure are not in our control, physical activity can be totally regulated by us.
    Following is the table that can serve as your point of reference to calories burnt in different physical activities.

Calories Used per Hour in Common Physical Activities

Moderate Physical ActivityApproximate Calories/30 Minutes for a 70 kg PersonApproximate Calories/Hr for a 70 kg Person
Hiking 185 370
Light gardening/yard work 165 330
Dancing 165 330
Golf (walking and carrying clubs) 165 330
Bicycling (< 10 mph) 145 290
Walking (3.5 mph) 140 280
Weight lifting (general light workout) 110 220
Stretching 90 180
Vigorous Physical ActivityApproximate Calories/30 Minutes for a 70 kg PersonApproximate Calories/Hr for a 70 kg Person
Running/jogging (5 mph) 295 590
Bicycling (< 10 mph) 295 590
Swimming (slow freestyle laps) 255 510
Aerobics 240 480
Walking (4.5 mph) 230 460
Heavy field work (chopping wood) 220 440
Weight lifting (vigorous effort) 220 440
Basketball (vigorous) 220 440
Calories burned per hour will be higher for persons who weigh more than 70 kg and lower for persons who weigh less. Source: Adapted from Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, page 16, Table 4.

It is always good to keep an account of your earnings and spending, be it money or calories.


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    http://www.biologydiscussion.com/energy/metabolism-energy/basal- metabolic-rate- bmr- definition-factors- and-significance/17342
    [Accessed on 20 Nov 2017]
  2. Energy Expenditure. Available from
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  3. Energy Expenditure at Rest and During Various Types of Physical Activity. Available from:
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  4. Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight. Available from:
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