Find Out How Many Calories You Burn After Exercise

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/29/2013 6:00 AM   :  80 comments   :  190,268 Views

We’ve always heard that the positive benefits of physical activity continue long after your workout session is over.  More energy, less stress and those “feel good” endorphins are some of the immediate effects.  But what about the mysterious “afterburn” that a lot of people talk about?  Do you really continue burning more calories after the workout, or is it really just during the workout that matters?  A new study finds that it’s possible to burn more calories throughout the day--in fact, up to 14 hours later.
 
The study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, took 10 healthy males and examined their energy expenditure under two different sets of conditions.  “During the first session, participants were mostly inactive, but they stood and stretched for two minutes every hour. They could also perform everyday tasks, such as washing their hands and brushing their teeth, as needed. During the second session, participants followed the same routine, but then cycled vigorously for 45 minutes.”
 
Researchers found that participants burned 190 additional calories while at rest throughout the day after vigorous exercise (defined in the study as a 73% max heart rate), compared to when they did no activity.  The increased calorie burn lasted for over 14 hours--and continued even into the first few hours of sleeping.  This is the first study to use a metabolic chamber (a highly controlled environment) to estimate calorie burned after vigorous physical activity.  
 
The number of calories each person burns during--and after--a workout will vary.  It depends on many factors:  gender, age, genetics, type of workout, etc.  But it’s something to keep in mind as you weigh the benefits of exercise, and whether or not the time and effort is worthwhile.  I think exercise is a key component of any healthy lifestyle, regardless of how much exercise you can do or how intense it is.  Previous studies have also shown that your body's metabolism stays revved after a workout and that generally, the more intense the workout is, the greater the post-workout "afterburn" will be. This study just gives one more reason to get off of the couch and get moving--no matter how much or how little time you have!
 
What do you think?


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Comments

  • 80
    I believe it! I've started working out at a gym and I'm seeing and feeling results way beyond what I would've expected for the time of the workout. - 11/15/2014   4:57:40 PM
  • 79
    I had a good workout today and kept my HRM on for about 2 hours and it showed I burned just over 400 calories in that time period. I don't deduct it my calories in, but interesting to know. - 9/29/2014   10:01:12 PM
  • 78
    I agree. I started working out during my lunch hour instead of sitting at my desk and my energy level has improved. I no longer get tired between 2 and 3. It has made a huge difference. - 8/3/2013   3:48:10 PM
  • 77
    sleeping and burning calories?! Yeah, I like that idea! - 6/5/2013   7:23:24 AM
  • SOCALDEBBIE
    76
    I was hoping my Bodybugg would confirm this, but unfortunately it doesn't. I burn calories at the same right after cardio as before. - 5/22/2013   1:36:16 PM
  • 75
    I love that somebody mentioned feeling revved up after a walk. I love intense exercise but a brisk 10 minute walk lifts my mood and energy level like NOTHING else! - 4/29/2013   9:49:28 AM
  • 74
    I absolutely think it's true! I will find my body heating up for "no reason" after a work out, and feel more alive for some time afterwards. - 4/25/2013   1:15:01 PM
  • 73
    I think it's true. I can tell that my metabolism is still revved up for some time after a workout, even a walk. - 4/5/2013   12:26:40 PM
  • 72
    I know that the benefits of exercise are important to me both psychologically and physically. That's a given. I do wonder if similar studies have been done on women?
    Nancy - 4/5/2013   8:49:04 AM
  • 71
    According the the Body MediaFit I used to wear last year, this is a pipe dream. I didn't burn any more calories throughout the day after a bootcamp or a run or anything else intense than I did any other time of the day/any other day. Well, besides about the 10-15 min after, I burned a couple more. Not even the extra amount of calories in a stick of celery. HOWEVER, the calories burned doing HIIT bootcamps, kickboxing or running were amazing.

    Wish this would apply to me! - 4/2/2013   4:24:42 PM
  • MOM_ON_THERUN
    70
    If my hunger is any indicator this is ABSOLUTELY true. - 4/1/2013   8:37:46 PM
  • MOM_ON_THERUN
    69
    If my hunger is any indicator this is ABSOLUTELY true. - 4/1/2013   8:37:46 PM
  • 68
    I have a friend who totally believes in this, but as for me I feel I need to keep my cal intake to normal no matter how hard I work out. Maybe with that mindset I will be able to lose more weight, for my deflicte will be more in theory - 4/1/2013   3:21:37 PM
  • SOCALDEBBIE
    67
    According to the calories I track with my Bodybugg, this is a pipe dream. I burn no more calories after exercise than before. - 4/1/2013   2:41:25 PM
  • 66
    Interesting - 3/30/2013   6:31:35 PM
  • 65
    Thanks for the article i do not care about it. So long as I still feel energized and flexible. At 69 years young iI am feeling great. EXERCISE in the key.Pat in Maine. - 3/30/2013   2:31:23 PM
  • CIRANDELLA
    64
    Affirmation du jour: "I incinerate billions and billions of calories each nanosecond!" - 3/30/2013   12:52:50 PM
  • IAMTOLOSE
    63
    Exercise is good but this was not a statistically viable sample. - 3/30/2013   11:44:43 AM
  • KATHIE_B
    62
    Sorry, I took statistics in college. This is not a valid sample size to prove anything. And I bet it was funded by my tax dollars. - 3/30/2013   8:25:38 AM
  • MICHIE632
    61
    I would like to see more of these studies done on women past the age of 50. I am 63, reasonably healthy, but have a muffin top to get rid of. I don't burn calories the way I did when I was in my 40's. Is it possible to lose some of that fat?
    - 3/30/2013   7:55:46 AM
  • 60
    It must have some credence because I've been able to maintain my weight since Autumn, 2012 with about 45 minutes of dancing (4 times a week) and regular housework. And I do not starve myself. Thanks for the update! - 3/30/2013   6:20:06 AM
  • DD-FAT
    59
    sweat and starve, no miracle. I subscribe to it. my trouble is 30 min later I tend to don't care anymore. any advice on how to stay motivated each minute of the day ? - 3/30/2013   2:35:00 AM
  • 58
    I totally agree that you continue to burn calories after a workout. I workout every day and I am able to not eat perfectly all the time and I don't gain a pound! I haven't in three years! I still I can contribute that to the intense workouts I do every day and I combine cardio and strength training and they say when your gaining muscle that your definitely burning fat too! - 3/30/2013   12:49:44 AM
  • PUGGLEMONKEY
    57
    Maybe so but...I'd like to see a study done on post 40ish overweight people (esp women) who do not have a lot of muscle and have not been working out regularly. I also agree - small sample size. Encouraging but.... - 3/29/2013   7:54:15 PM
  • 56
    Would seem like the "Hunter/Gather" would have not made out well. Guess that is why farmers got fat. LOL Didn't take much energy to sit on a stool and milk a cow. - 3/29/2013   7:10:58 PM
  • LEXIED1
    55
    Thank you, one more reason to keep sweating. Not only am I burning during but throughout the day, cool!!! - 3/29/2013   6:29:15 PM
  • 54
    Ten healthy males? Holy tiny-sample-size, Batman!

    Please find a study that isn't done entirely on males, and preferably with a sample size that isn't ridiculously small. Bad science is...bad. - 3/29/2013   3:53:55 PM
  • 53
    Great news... - 3/29/2013   2:33:16 PM
  • 52
    I totally believe it! If my energy is up all day thanks to my morning routine and I'm usually a little hungrier, then I would hope my body is in high gear burning those cals. - 3/29/2013   1:39:36 PM
  • FREE2BEHEALTHY1
    51
    Another reason to do my exercises in the morning.....keeping my metabolism moving!!!!! - 3/29/2013   1:30:56 PM
  • 50
    Great article, but a little disappointed after reading the title.

    "Find Out How Many Calories You Burn After Exercise" - 3/29/2013   12:28:31 PM
  • KELLYD2112
    49
    More encouragement to get moving! - 3/29/2013   12:25:50 PM
  • 48
    I was afraid they were going to call it a myth, so glad to hear it's true! - 3/29/2013   12:05:36 PM
  • 47
    This is great and motivating to know!
    Blessings... - 3/29/2013   11:29:21 AM
  • CLARAELIZABETH1
    46
    Great to know! Motiviating! WooHoo! :-) - 3/29/2013   10:14:29 AM
  • 45
    Motivation for me! Thats exactly what I needed to read today to stay on track because I was feeling kinda "worn out" already after just starting again! - 3/29/2013   9:35:30 AM
  • MZNAYLUV
    44
    Motivation to keep on working out!! - 2/13/2013   4:27:15 PM
  • 43
    This is just one more reason that I need to keep working out even when I don't want to. New Mantra, Burn More and More! - 3/31/2012   9:16:44 AM
  • 42
    This is an encouraging study. The use of the metabolic chamber makes it unique. Hopefully more studies will be done and include women in them. Before reading this I had read that weight training has a lengthy after-burn and interval training, especially high intensity interval training (hiit) increases the after-burn. HIIT workout sessions are short (20 mins) and have numerous benefits but are so very hard. I've had a tough time maintaining them on a weekly basis. I've also read that adding a few intervals at the end of a steady state cardio workout increases the 'after-burn' as well.
    I'd be interested in how they determined the max heart rate of the participants. I find that the calculators are too inaccurate to depend on. - 1/17/2012   6:22:42 AM
  • 41
    I just got back into the gym and this article definitely gives me the motivation to continue on with my cardio workouts! - 1/13/2012   12:59:36 PM
  • 40
    So interesting! Good to know! - 1/13/2012   10:54:27 AM
  • KCAMILLES
    39
    Love the after burn!!! - 12/29/2011   6:08:58 PM
  • 38
    Love that the burn keeps on burning!! - 12/29/2011   10:28:37 AM
  • 37
    That's great news.. - 12/29/2011   10:12:50 AM
  • 36
    This is interesting, I know my energy level is up as well as my attitude. This would explain a lot. But my questions echo NMLAHAIE's. - 12/23/2011   6:08:50 AM
  • 35
    I don't believe it is true for people who don't have a lot of muscle. I used a body bugg and the afterburn lasts about 5 minutes. But not to dispair, am working on increasing muscles and decreasing body fat. I'd like to see the calorie burn rates for non athletes/ overweight or obese people. I do heartily believe that 45 minutes at 70% mhr is great, as is strength training, interval training and just mixing it up and having fun being active! - 12/10/2011   9:14:56 AM
  • KGERBIE
    34
    I am a very convinced that diet and exercise are sooo important to health and wellness. I was on 17 medications and falling apart 15 years ago. Today I am on Zero. All I have changed is my diet and exercise. I have lost weigh and feel so much better. To hear my story check out my blog at funandhealthylivinginfo.com. Change your life, Change what you eat. If you are interested in some healthy snacks checkout my webpage at gerbiesnacks.com Eating right and exercising are so worth it. I hope to see you on my sites as you make changes to improve your life. - 12/1/2011   6:04:43 PM
  • RHONDAWI
    33
    That is great!! I needed that info today. I needed something else to keep me working!! Thank you - 11/28/2011   5:08:42 AM
  • MINKY01
    32
    @jekurs: you are also wrong, it would simply be "lots" not "a lot". Quit correcting grammar on forums, that is not its purpose. As for the article, it is very informative. - 11/26/2011   4:50:45 PM
  • ROSALEEE
    31
    @Chris - I know how difficult it can be when you get to that plateau and it feels like it's making no difference. But the difference it's making is the difference between gaining BACK whatever you lost before your plateau.

    You need to do some change-ups on your routine. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you will inevitably reach that plateau and you won't be able to get off of it. Something needs to change. - 11/26/2011   3:49:36 PM

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