how many calories should i burn a day

Indeed you must have heard about the term, ‘calorie’ before in the context of health and fitness. If one says how many calories should i burn in a day, here “calories to burn” refers to the process by which the body converts the energy stored in food into usable energy. 

For effective weight management, many people often wonder, ‘How much calories should I burn a day? Well, whenever a person loses or gains weight, the body burns calories to achieve that, as weight changes are a result of an imbalance between the calories consumed and those expended through metabolism and physical activity. And yes, our body burns calories daily to power the body’s functions. So, the rational question is How many calories should I burn in a day? how many calories to burn to lose weight? Let us explore the answers to these questions and more about calories. 

‍How are Calories Burned by the body? 

Before we learn the answer to how many calories should I burn a day, it’s important to understand how calories are burnt. As of now, we talked about calories, now let’s talk about Metabolism. Metabolism refers to a set of processes done by our body, one of them is breaking down food with oxygen to produce energy. And, this function/part of metabolism is known as ‘respiration’. 

So, this sums up that calories are burnt through a process called respiration. Also, it’s important to know that our body burns calories while performing day-to-day tasks and even at rest, to perform functions like breathing, releasing hormones and blood circulation. The number of calories your body burns when at rest is known as basal metabolic rate, also called basal metabolism. And, you can calculate these calories using a BMR Calculator

Factors that Influence Your Daily Calorie Burn

Now that you know how many calories should I burn a day, let us understand how your body does that. Our body burns calories depending on several factors and at different rates. But, have you ever wondered why the number of calories burnt while doing an activity differs from person to person? Why do two people not burn an equal number of calories while running at the same speed on the treadmill? how many calories to burn to lose weight is enough for me? Then to answer such questions, let us look at the factors affecting calorie burn; 

  1. Amount of daily activity
  2. Age
  3. Gender
  4. Body Size

1. Amount Of Daily Activity

The amount of daily activity refers to the level of physical movement and exercise a person engages in throughout the day. This includes activities such as walking, standing, household chores, and planned exercise routines. The more active a person is during the day, the higher their daily calorie expenditure is likely to be, and you don’t even need to worry about questions like how many calories should I burn a day! 

2. Age

Age is a demographic factor that can influence calorie burn. Metabolism tends to slow down with age, which can result in a decrease in the number of calories burned at rest (Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR). If you’re wondering how many calories should I burn a day, then you must also know that lifestyle factors and changes in muscle mass that often occur with age can affect overall calorie expenditure.

3. Gender

This question how many calories should I burn a day, is specific for both males and females. Gender plays a role in calorie burn due to differences in body composition and hormonal profiles. In general, men tend to have a higher BMR and may burn more calories at rest than women, primarily because they often have more muscle mass. However, individual variations exist, and lifestyle factors, such as activity level and diet, also contribute significantly to calorie burn.

4. Body Size

Yes, body size shapes the answer to the question how many calories should i burn in a day? Body size encompasses factors like height, weight, and body composition. Taller and heavier individuals may have higher BMRs because they have more tissue (both muscle and fat) to maintain. Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat tissue, so individuals with a higher proportion of muscle tend to have a slightly higher BMR and calorie expenditure.

How to calculate calories that you have Burned?

Now that you know how many calories should I burn a day, let us find out how to calculate the calories you have burned! Calculating calories, whether for daily intake or calories burned during exercise, involves various methods and its is also substantially useful in knowing how many you need to burn. Here’s how to calculate calories using a few common approaches to find out how much calories should I burn a day; 

1. Calorie Calculators and Apps

  • Use fitness apps or online calorie calculators.
  • Enter your details like age, gender, weight, activity level, and exercise specifics.
  • The calculator will provide an estimate of calories consumed or burned.

2. Heart rate Monitors

  • Wear a heart rate monitor during exercise.
  • Input personal information such as age, weight, and fitness level.
  • The monitor estimates calorie burn based on heart rate data.

3. Wearable Fitness Trackers

  • Wear a fitness watch or tracker.
  • These devices use data like heart rate, activity type, and personal info to estimate calories burned.

4. Use exercise machines with built-in calorie counters

  • Input exercise settings and personal information.
  • The machine estimates calorie burn based on your workout.

5. Mathematical Calculations 

You can use the Harris-Benedict equation to estimate your daily calorie needs based on your activity level;

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (light exercise or sports 1-3 days a week): BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days a week): BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise or sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
  • Super active (very hard exercise or physical job & exercise 2x/day): BMR x 1.9

You can also use Ideal Weight Calculator to have better knowledge of the number of calories you need to burn and further maintain a healthy weight.

How many calories do you burn during exercise?

Have you ever wondered how many calories should i burn in a day by doing exercise? If yes, then let us find the answer to this! The number of calories you burn during exercise depends on various factors, including the type of exercise, its intensity, your body weight, and the duration of the activity. Generally, more intense and longer exercises burn more calories. On average, here’s you can burn the following estimated calories:

Age Calories burned by men (30mins of exercise)  Calories burned by women (30mins of exercise) 
20-30 2,950 2,300
30-40 2,850 2,250
40-50 2,750 2,220
50-60 2,650 2,100
60-70 2,600 2,050
70-80 2500 2000

How many calories do you burn from daily activities?

It’s a common belief that one can burn a substantial amount of calories only through hard core exercises. However the mundane things of life that include doing house chores, running errands and indulging in usual daily activities can also play a significant role in burning calories. Indulging in daily activities as simple as just laundry, laughing, brisk walking or cycling can burn a considerable number of calories and play an influential role in your weight management journey. Below given listed are some of the daily activities and the number of calories they burn:

Exercises  Calories You Burn (per hour)
Laughing 78
Gardening 416
Taking a hot bath 180
Walking  185 
Washing up  171
Dancing 260
Shopping  181
Ironing 171
Cleaning 240

How many calories do you burn without exercise?

Basic mechanisms of daily life including breathing, circulating blood, and building cells, all require energy. There are various ways that can help burn calories without exercise. Even during rest periods, your body is constantly expending energy, with as much as 75% of your daily calorie expenditure dedicated to essential bodily functions such as respiration, blood circulation, and cellular regeneration. This equates to a baseline calorie burn of at least 1300, and potentially more, even when you’re sedentary. As you engage in daily activities or exercise, you can significantly increase this calorie expenditure by adding hundreds more to your total energy output.

How many calories should you burn to lose weight?

This is the most asked question, and the answer is very subjective. It depends on several factors, including your current weight, age, gender, activity level, and weight loss goals. Scientifically, to lose 1 kg one needs to burn 7700 calories. Here’s an idle approach to understanding how many calories to burn to lose weight; 

Step 1: Learn and Calculate Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

To know how many calories should I burn a day, you should note that the body burns calories while your body is active, like exercising or playing a sport, as well as when at rest to perform functions like breathing, releasing hormones and blood circulation. The calories used in performing these ‘at rest’ functions are known as basal metabolic rate. 

So, to lose weight, you also have to consider these calories while reaching the goal of burning 7700. To calculate these ‘at rest’ calories, you may use a BMR calculator. 

Step 2: Determine Your Activity Level

The second step towards knowing how many calories should i burn a day is knowing the activity level of the body. 

Your level of physical activity significantly influences your total daily calorie expenditure. If you move throughout the day you can easily burn certain calories. And, if you spend your day in the same position with minimal movements, then you need to take time to burn calories. This can be done by playing a sport in the evening, going to the gym or doing a fun sport like swimming. You can use the Harris-Benedict equation to estimate your daily calorie needs based on your activity level:

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (light exercise or sports 1-3 days a week): BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days a week): BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise or sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
  • Super active (very hard exercise or physical job & exercise 2x/day): BMR x 1.9

Step 3: Create a Calorie Deficit

Now that you know that your body burns calories even at rest and at your activity level, and given that losing weight 1 kg of weight requires 7700 to be burnt, creating a deficiency of calories in your daily intake. As a result, your body will use the stored energy/calories to make up for the shortfall, leading to weight loss. Follow a calorie deficit diet plan and also consider doing these things; 

  • Regularly Exercise.
  • Track your Calories.
  • Healthy Lifestyle and Sleep Schedule. 
  • Swap to Healthy low calorie foods for Snacks.
  • Meditate thrice a week. 

Step 4: Monitor Progress

It’s important to set realistic and achievable weight loss goals and monitor the changes and progress. For personalized guidance and to ensure you’re pursuing a safe and healthy weight loss plan, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian. Following a healthy diet and indulging in exercises can provide you with a fruitful answer to How to lose 15 kg in a month

By following these steps, you may understand the answer to how many calories to burn to lose weight. 

Healthy Methods To Burn Calories

When discussing healthy habits, the question how much calories should I burn a day? frequently comes up. We now have the answer to how many calories should i burn a day, let us understand the healthy methods to burn calories! This involves engaging in physical activities and lifestyle choices that support overall well-being while promoting calorie expenditure. Here are some effective and safe ways to burn calories:

  1. Workout
  2. Yoga
  3. Pilates 
  4. Sex
  5. Cardio 

1. Workout

A workout refers to a structured and planned physical activity session that is designed to improve or maintain physical fitness. Workouts can include various forms of exercise, such as strength training, cardiovascular activities, and flexibility exercises, aimed at burning calories, building muscle, and improving overall health. A workout session can help you burn several calories significant to the question of how many calories should I burn a day

Amount of calories you can burn in 1 hour of workout: 300-400 

2. Yoga

Yoga is a holistic practice that combines physical postures, controlled breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques. While it may not be as calorie-intensive as some other forms of exercise, regular yoga practice can contribute to calorie burning significantly equal to a workout session that can help you burn several calories significant to the question of how many calories should I burn a day. It also improves flexibility, reduces stress, and enhances overall well-being.

Amount of calories you can burn in 1 hour of yoga: 260-300

3. Pilates 

If you are worried about how many calories should I burn a day, then Pilates can help you. Pilates is a low-impact exercise method that focuses on strengthening the core muscles, improving posture, and enhancing flexibility and balance. While it may not burn a high number of calories compared to intense cardio workouts, it can help with calorie expenditure, especially when practised consistently as part of a fitness routine.

Amount of calories you can burn in doing 1 hour of Pilates: 170-250

4. Sex

Sexual activity, while primarily an intimate and personal experience, can also burn calories. The number of calories burned during sex can vary depending on factors like duration, intensity, and position. While it may not be a primary exercise method, it can be a pleasurable way to engage in physical activity.

Males can burn 4.2 calories per minute, while females may burn 3.1 calories after 1 minute of sex.  

5. Cardio 

Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, includes activities that increase your heart rate and breathing rate for an extended period. Common forms of cardio exercise include jogging, cycling, swimming, and brisk walking. Cardio workouts are effective for burning calories, improving cardiovascular health, and enhancing endurance.

Amount of calories you can burn in doing 1 hour of Cardio Workout: 450-800 

Tips Before Measuring Your Calorie Burn

Before measuring your calorie burn, it’s important to consider a few tips. Ensure you have accurate information about your age, weight, and other relevant personal details to input into calorie calculators or fitness devices. Let us look at some other tips before measuring your calorie burn; 

  1. Focus on long-term lifestyle changes
  2. Try calorie counting
  3. Focus on the food you’re eating
  4. Weigh and measure your food and drink
  5. Break up your workout

1. Focus On Long-Term Lifestyle Changes

Given that how many calories should I burn a day is an important concern, it’s equally essential to remember that long-term health and weight management rely on sustainable lifestyle changes. Rather than solely focusing on short-term goals, aim to adopt healthy habits like regular exercise and balanced eating that you can maintain over time.

2. Try Calorie Counting

The answer to how many calories should I burn a day and calorie counting involves tracking the number of calories you consume daily to ensure they align with your health and fitness goals. It can be a helpful tool for managing your calorie intake and making informed food choices. Many mobile apps and websites offer easy-to-use calorie-counting tools such as a daily calorie intake calculator to track daily food consumption. 

3. Focus On The Food You’re Eating

While focusing on how much calories should i burn a day, pay attention to the quality of the food you consume. Opt for nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, carbohydrates rich foods and healthy fats. These choices provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre while minimizing empty calories from sugary and processed foods.

4. Weigh And Measure Your Food And Drink

Weighing and measuring your food and drink portions can provide a more accurate understanding of your calorie intake. Learning how to calculate food calories helps prevent overeating and allows you to control portion sizes, which is particularly valuable when calorie counting.

5. Break Up Your Workout

Breaking your workout into smaller sessions throughout the day can be beneficial. Short bouts of exercise while following a healthy food chart can help maintain an elevated metabolic rate, making it easier to fit physical activity into a busy schedule. For example, you can engage in 10-15 minutes of brisk walking multiple times a day to accumulate your daily exercise goal. 

Expert Review on How many calories should you burn in a day?

Our body’s energy is measured in calories. It is the unit to quantify the amount of energy provided by food and beverages once they are consumed and wholly digested. In simple terms, it represents the energy content of a particular food or drink. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, one needs to have a healthy weight which can be achieved by burning the required number of calories. There are various methods that can help one burn calories like yoga, pilates, cardio, running, gym and others. One can also in daily activities like shopping, doing laundary, laughing or gardening to considerable amount of calories.


“Burning calories without exercise.” 2021. Harvard Health.

“Calorie Estimation in Adults Differing in Body Weight Class and Weight Loss Status.” n.d. NCBI. Accessed January 11, 2024.

“Calories burned in 30 minutes of leisure and routine activities.” 2021. Harvard Health.

“Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis in Human Energy Homeostasis.” 2022. NCBI.


Is it enough to burn 500 calories a day?

Burning 500 calories a day can be a significant step toward weight loss for many individuals. This amount of calorie expenditure can lead to a calorie deficit, which is essential for losing weight. A deficit of 500 calories per day can result in a loss of about one pound per week, as one pound of body weight is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories. However, the effectiveness of burning 500 calories a day depends on various factors such as your starting weight, metabolic rate, diet, and level of physical activity.

How many calories should you naturally burn in a day?

The number of calories an individual naturally burns in a day varies based on factors such as age, gender, weight, height, body composition, and activity level. This is often referred to as the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and represents the number of calories your body needs to maintain basic physiological functions while at rest. On average, BMR accounts for about 60-75% of total daily calorie expenditure. For example, a sedentary individual may have a BMR of around 1,400-1,800 calories per day, while a more active person may have a BMR closer to 2,000-2,500 calories per day.

Is it good to burn 200 calories a day?

Burning 200 calories a day through exercise or physical activity can contribute to overall health and weight management. While it may not lead to rapid weight loss on its own, incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can have numerous benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength and endurance, enhanced mood, and stress reduction. Burning 200 calories a day through activities such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming can help increase calorie expenditure and support weight maintenance or gradual weight loss when combined with a balanced diet.

Is it good to burn 150 calories a day?

Burning 150 calories a day through exercise or physical activity can also be beneficial for health and weight management, although the impact on weight loss may be more modest compared to burning higher amounts of calories. Engaging in activities that burn 150 calories, such as gardening, yoga, or light jogging, can still contribute to overall calorie expenditure and promote cardiovascular health, flexibility, and relaxation. Incorporating regular physical activity, even at a lower intensity, is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing sedentary behaviour.

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