Does Reading Burn Calories? The Complete Analysis

Does Reading Burn Calories?

Our daily lives seem to get more unhealthy year after year. We tend to spend more time working, sitting around, looking at our phones, and our sedentary lifestyle seems to become the norm.

Delivery services allow us to order online pretty much anything we can think of and have it delivered to our doorstep so we don’t even need to leave the house. Ride-sharing services allow us to drive or be driven anywhere we want, eliminating any need for walking. There’s no surprise that obesity, diabetes and other diseases associated with this kind of lifestyle are becoming more and more common.

Since Basmo is dedicated to finding out everything there is to know about reading, it was only a matter of time until we found ourselves wondering: does reading burn calories? 

For those of us concerned for our health and willing to go the extra mile to stay in shape and avoid any health problems, it has come to a careful process of counting calories for pretty much anything we eat and for any activity we do. 

Does reading burn calories?

Yes, reading does burn calories. Well, to be fair, everything burns calories to a certain extent. Our bodies require energy for every single activity we do, whether it’s a conscious or unconscious one. Whether we are walking, running, watching TV, or simply breathing or sleeping, we do burn calories. That being said, the correct question to ask would be whether reading burns more calories than doing nothing at all. And the answer would remain the same: yes. 

Reading, even though we tend to take it for granted as an activity, is a very complex process that requires quite a lot of resources, and since we’re focusing on the number of calories burned by reading, it’s only natural to have a look at the energy resources consumed by this amazing activity.

First, one thing that we need to understand right off the bat is that reading is a very healthy activity. There are a huge number of benefits we can take advantage of by reading and these are not even limited to just physical and mental health aspects

That being said, there are several activities nobody really gives much thought about when it comes to burning calories. While everyone focuses on how many calories are burned doing squats, running, or swimming, nobody really gives sedentary activities any thought. Well, you should know that reading, watching TV, simply sitting around, and even sleeping, all burn a significant amount of calories. 

So, not only does your favorite hobby put you in a great mood, teach you about the world, and provide tons of physical and mental health benefits, but it also helps you burn calories. That is great news. And the good news doesn’t stop there. Reading actually burns more calories than watching TV, sitting around, or sleeping. 

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How many calories does reading burn?

Well, one of the numbers that seem to be true for most of us is around 150 calories during a reading session of 1 hour and 45 minutes. One thing you need to keep in mind is that the way we burn calories differs from one person to another. That has to do with our body weight, our fitness level, and, of course, our metabolic rate. While the exact numbers are slightly different for each and every one of us, the average is going to be pretty close to the truth for most of us. 

It may not seem like a lot considering that a session of running at a comfortable pace usually burns around 500 calories in just one hour, but the main difference stems from the fact that reading is not done for this particular purpose. You don’t read books to burn calories, while the running you do is most likely your physical activity of choice for you exactly because of the number of calories it burns. 

Reading is not a part of anyone’s fitness routine and is definitely not a weight-loss tool either. You read because you love spending your time emerging yourself in different worlds, because you love how it disconnects you from your daily life, and because you know how beneficial it is for you. The fact that you also burn some calories doing it is just an added bonus. And while it may not seem like a lot, burning 150 calories in one hour and 45 minutes of reading is still quite a lot considering that watching TV or sleeping would burn the same number of calories in 2 and a half hours.

Even though your brain is not a muscle and has very little in common with muscles from an anatomical point of view, the way it operates is surprisingly similar. The more intense the mental activity you are engaged in, the more calories your brain will burn in order to function properly. Not only that, but it is a very well-known fact that an intense mental activity will act as a healthy cardio session for your brain. The more you use it, the better and more efficient it becomes. Well, the good news is that reading is one of the activities that put our brains through a very thorough workout and results in us becoming smarter over time. 

Another interesting thing to note about the way our brain functions and helps us burn calories is that it runs mainly on pure glucose. In case you didn’t know this so far, that means that the energy used by our brain comes from the carbs we’re eating. As a result, since now you know that reading burns more calories than watching TV, you should make sure to change your eating habits. Perhaps instead of snacking while watching TV, limit yourself to snacking while reading.

How to burn more calories reading?

Since our lives force us to generally burn fewer calories than we ingest, the inevitable result is that a huge proportion of the population is currently overweight. And that is a huge problem at a global level nowadays. That makes the responsible ones of us wonder what we can do to change that and live healthier lives. The temptations are hard to avoid nowadays, with absolutely delicious meals and sweets available on every street corner at more than affordable prices. 

But eating a 700 calories burger with fries in one sitting can only lead us one way unless we figure out ways to burn off those calories. Therefore, we constantly try to find new and creative ways to burn as many calories as possible. From HIIT training, and super-intense cardio sessions at the gym, to adapting daily activities to our need to burn off more calories than we eat, we tend to find pretty amazing ways to stay in shape. Since reading is now officially on your list of activities that have the possibility of helping you burn off some calories, here are a couple of ways you can make this process more efficient. 

Read more 

Clearly, the most obvious solution is also the most efficient one. If you want to burn more calories reading, the first thing to figure out is how to find ways to read more. We are all quite busy and have very little time for ourselves. But thankfully, we learned this at Basmo enough time ago to come up with a couple of solutions.

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Create a reading schedule

Just like your yoga classes or pretty much any other physical activity you do, reading needs to be a well-structured activity. Having healthy reading habits always starts with a clear reading schedule

Luckily for you, Basmo, our reading tracking app, is designed to meet pretty much any need a modern reader can have, including creating and maintaining a good schedule. The app can help you choose the days of the week you want your reading sessions to take place, and even different times on each day. 

The app is going to also remind you through gentle notifications of any upcoming reading sessions so that you don’t miss any of them.

Set clear goals

Another important way to ensure that you get more reading done is to push yourself and set realistic reading goals. Basmo steps in as well to help you set and achieve them. 

You can use our app to set daily or yearly goals, either for the time you want to spend reading every day or for the total number of books you read throughout a year. Regardless of your choice of goals, the app is going to help you keep track of your progress and will allow you to easily meet your goals.

Create reading lists

One of the most common reasons why people take long breaks between books is that they simply don’t know what to read next.

Basmo comes with a pretty creative solution. Keep your reading list on your phone, within our app. The reading lists can be easily modified and updated, and they are super-easy to access.

Read standing up

If you simply cannot find the time to spend more time reading every day, another solution to increase the number of calories you are burning is to read while standing up instead of doing it sitting down or even laying down. Standing alone, when not paired with any other activity, burns between 100 and 200 calories per hour. 

While the exact number of calories you burn while reading standing up hasn’t been calculated with accuracy, it is pretty safe to assume that you are getting a lot more “metabolic value” from a reading session you get through standing up instead of sitting.

Make reading a more intense experience

As I was saying a bit earlier, we all burn calories differently. But that is not everything that differs in terms of calories burned while reading. What we read, how we read it, and how intense our reading session is can also play a huge role in this complicated equation. 

But how can you make reading more intense? With Basmo, of course.

Take notes while reading

Taking reading seriously and getting more involved in the process requires some rather diligent note-taking for maximum efficiency.

Luckily, Basmo comes feature-packed with everything you could wish for, including a note-taking feature that becomes automatically available as soon as a reading session is started.

You can jot down your thoughts, make notes for the important information you want to remember, or anything else you feel needs to be written down while reading. You can even edit the notes, format them however you see fit, and make them as accessible and well-organized as you want.

Track your feelings

Reading is a very introspective activity, and the way you engage with your own feelings can also have an impact on how many calories you burn while reading.

Basmo provides you with a pretty awesome tool that allows you to record your emotional state at the end of each reading session and it also generates a weekly report that shows how your emotions changed within the past week. Use the information to see what kind of reading gets you emotionally involved the most.

Increase reading speed

Just like sprinting burns more calories than jogging, speed reading is going to make your reading sessions a lot more effective in terms of calories burned. 

Use Basmo to record your reading sessions, analyze the important metrics of your reading habits and start working on increasing your reading speed. The more you practice, the quicker you will become and Basmo has all the tools you can possibly need to become a very fast and efficient reader.

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Final thoughts 

Does reading burn calories? Of course, it does. But the main thing to analyze is how you can increase the number of calories burned while reading. And that is where Basmo can be an amazingly useful tool. You might not manage to actually lose weight by reading, but you can definitely enjoy a ton of benefits while consuming some of your excess calories for the day.

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