Calories Count

It seems that the notion of calories are everywhere when we try to focus on our health. In a perfect world, our calories expenditure would match our calorie intake leaving us with no net gain (i.e., pounds) at the end of the day. For the majority of us however, we tend to underestimate the calories burned each day, giving us the false notion that how much we’ve eaten that day doesn’t matter. For instance, when running we roughly burn 100 calories per mile run. A good site to help you calculate this can be found at:

www.runtheplanet.com/resources/tools/calculators/caloriecounter

Oddly enough, even if we walk one mile, we still burn only about 100 calories. Why run when you could walk? Well for one thing you’ll get where you’re going faster. So if trying to get the maximum amount of exercise in the shortest period of time is an issue then running may be for you. It’s also easier to increase your heart rate by running, if you want to increase your maximum cardiac fitness (although some researchers find this debatable). Some are now advocating the notion that walking the equivalent of 10,000 steps a day is optimal for our daily health:

www.thewalkingsite.com/10000steps.html

Bicycling, whether stationary or when the rubber actually meets the road, is another source of good calorie expenditure. A leisurely cycling pace can burn around 250 to 270 calories an hour (based on an 150 lb. individual) (caloriecount.about.com/activities-bicycling-ac1). Cycling can be easier on the joints, as compared to running or walking. But again, it takes an hour to burn substantial calories.

When you factor in that your average McDonald’s sausage McMuffin with egg clocks in at 450 calories, that’s equivalent to running or walking 4.5 miles or leisurely cycling for almost two hours. Is it any wonder that we fall behind in burning enough calories for the average daily American diet? More on this topic later . . .

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About Steve P. Sanders

A general internist writing and sharing ideas and art.

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