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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Burn Those Calories



Recently a relative stated their Fitbit didn’t seem to accurately reflect how many calories they burned up during exercise.  Many calculators I have used do seem to overstate the calories burned in an activity.  Calculators that are simple relying on weight and duration may not be as accurate as calculators that require more input like gender, height and that provide a much broader array of activities.  Some activity calculators are built into apps like Lose It! and others are online stand-alone exercise calculators.  If you want to know how many calories you are burning at the gym, doing routine chores or exercising outdoors here are some calculators to try:

  1. Health StatusCalories Burned Calculator – This provides an extensive listing of exercise and common daily activities.  You enter your age, gender, height, weight, and number of minutes for the chosen activity and it estimates calories burned.  As the calculator notes, it takes 3500 calories to burn up one pound of body weight.  Focusing on burning up 250 to 500 extra calories a day would be a good goal.  But even a 100 calories a day would burn up 700 calories a week.  A 30 minute walk at 3 MPH would burn up more than 100 calories a day. 
  2. Kaiser – this is a very simple calculator to use.  Input weight, and duration of the activity and then choose the activity and exercise.  The downside is the choice of activities is limited. 
  3. WebMD – Look for the Fit-O-Meter at the top of the page.  Search for your activity such as bicycling and choose whether slow, moderate or vigorous.  Enter your weight and duration of the activity and it calculates your calories burned.  It also will add this activity to an Activity Summary – it records up to 5 activities.  Walking provided an odd selection – fishing from river bank, serving food, chasing cattle.  After scrolling through many options, I finally got to walking, slow, moderate, etc.  A little patience and “searching” is needed for this calculator.
  4. My Fitness PalCalories Burned From Exercise – very simple, and easy to use calculator.  Walking turned up walking by MPH.  Those that have a pedometer on their smartphone know at what pace you walk.  Walk your dog?  Determine how many calories you burn.  Bicycling was easy to match. OR – choose an exercise from their drop down box.  Very simple and easy to use calculator.
  5. Lose It! app  – I have this app on my Smartphone.  You can use it to track calories burned in exercise and calories eaten.  I like how it adds more calories to your day whenever you enter your exercise.  You don’t have to use this app to lose weight, you can use it to maintain or even gain weight.  You can use this online at Lose It! or download the app to your smartphone. 

It is interesting the difference in calories burned using the different calculators.  Some seem to way over estimate calories burned.  Try out a few and find one that works best for you. 
Sources:  Health Status, Kaiser, WebMD, My Fitness Pal, Lose It! app  Image Source:  Lose It!


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