How Many Calories Do I Burn in A Day? (The Truth)

How Many Calories Do I Burn in A Day? (The Truth)

Discover the science behind daily calorie burn! Explore factors, estimation methods, and strategies to optimize weight management.

Have you ever wondered how many calories you truly burn in a day? It’s a question that’s often on the minds of health-conscious individuals who are looking to understand their metabolism and optimize their weight management efforts. But guess what? It’s not a simple one-size-fits-all answer! There are actually many factors at play that influence your daily calorie burn.

Image of a pink weighing scale and a measuring tape. Photo source: Pexels
Image of a pink weighing scale and a measuring tape. Photo source: Pexels

What are the factors affecting daily calorie burn?

When it comes to how many calories you burn in a day, there are many factors at play, and understanding each one is important. To better understand them, here is a breakdown of the different factors that affect your daily calorie burn:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to perform basic functions such as breathing, circulating blood, and building cells. It is influenced by factors such as age, body size, and gender. As you age, your BMR tends to decrease, resulting in a lower daily calorie burn.

Physical Activity Level

The amount and intensity of the physical activity you engage in on a daily basis significantly impact your calorie burn. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. This includes structured exercises like workouts, as well as non-exercise physical activities like walking, gardening, and household chores.

Body Composition

The composition of your body, including the ratio of muscle to fat, can also affect your daily calorie burn. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, meaning it burns more calories at rest. Therefore, individuals with higher muscle mass tend to have a higher calorie burn compared to those with a higher proportion of body fat.


As mentioned earlier, age plays a role in daily calorie burn. Generally, as you age, your metabolism slows down, resulting in a lower calorie burn. Research suggests that your metabolism slows down with age, largely due to less activity and muscle loss.

A study conducted at Tufts University found that adding at least 48 minutes of physical activity to the weekly routine can significantly reduce disability risk and slow down muscle loss associated with aging.

[Related: 7 Best Abdominal Exercises for Seniors (Do These Anywhere)]


Gender also plays a role in daily calorie burn, with men generally having a higher muscle mass and higher BMR compared to women, leading to a higher calorie burn

How do you calculate calories burned?

When it comes to figuring out how many calories you burn, there are a few methods you can try. First, there’s the MET formula – which stands for Metabolic Equivalent of Task. Then, there are the trusty online calculators that can do the math for you.

MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) formula

MET values represent the amount of energy expended during a specific activity relative to the energy expended at rest. To calculate calories burned using MET, multiply the MET value of the activity by your weight in kilograms and the duration of the activity in hours. Then, multiply the result by a constant value of 0.0175 to convert it to calories. The formula is:

Calories burned = MET value x weight (kg) x duration (hours) x 0.0175

MET values for various activities can be found in MET databases or online resources such as ProCon.

Online calculators

There are many online calculators that can estimate calories burned based on activity type, weight, duration, and other factors. These calculators typically use pre-determined MET values or algorithms to provide an estimate of calories burned. To use an online calculator, simply input the relevant information and the calculator will provide an estimate of calories burned.

Try out this calculator below:

How many calories do you burn from daily activities?

The number of calories you burn from daily activities can vary widely depending on factors such as your age, weight, gender, activity level, and the specific activities you engage in. Here are some rough estimates of the average calories burned per hour for various common daily activities for a 155-pound (70 kg) individual:

ActivityAverage calories
Walking (3.5 mph)314 calories/hour
Running (5 mph)606 calories/hour
Bicycling (12-14 mph)502 calories/hour
Swimming:423 calories/hour
Jumping rope:690 calories/hour
Dancing314-408 calories/hour (depending on intensity)
Household chores (e.g., cleaning, gardening)246-314 calories/hour (depending on intensity)
Weightlifting211 calories/hour

It’s important to note that these are just estimates and actual calorie burn can vary based on individual factors. Additionally, the duration and intensity of your activities also play a role in determining the total calories burned. Using a fitness tracker or a calorie burn calculator can provide a more accurate estimate of your personal calorie burn during daily activities.

How many calories should I burn in a day?

A general guideline for weight maintenance is to aim for a daily calorie burn that matches your daily calorie intake. This is often referred to as “calories in vs. calories out” or “energy balance.” If you consume the same amount of calories that you burn, your weight is likely to remain stable.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends aiming for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or cycling, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as running or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), per week for overall health benefits. This can help you achieve a calorie burn of approximately 200-300 calories per day from exercise alone.

[Related: The 15 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Burning Fat]

However, if you have specific weight loss or weight gain goals, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, registered dietitian, or certified fitness expert for personalized recommendations. They can assess your individual needs and provide tailored guidance on how many calories you should aim to burn in a day to achieve your specific goals while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

How many calories do I burn without exercise?

Generally, most people burn over 1,800 calories a day without any exercise. However, it’s important to remember that this is just a rough estimate and the number of calories burned without exercise varies depending on factors such as age, gender, height, weight, and activity level.

It’s worth noting that even simple activities like sitting, standing, and doing everyday tasks like folding laundry or sweeping the floor can still burn calories, although the amount may be relatively low compared to more vigorous exercise. Additionally, factors such as muscle mass, body composition, and metabolism can also affect the number of calories burned at rest.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Got more questions about how many calories you burn in a day? Check out some commonly asked questions about this topic below.

How can I estimate the number of calories I burn in a day?

Estimating daily calorie burn involves considering factors like basal metabolic rate (BMR), physical activity level, and lifestyle habits. Calculators and fitness trackers can be helpful tools.

What are some lifestyle changes I can make to increase my daily calorie burn?

Incorporating regular exercise, engaging in non-exercise physical activity (NEPA) such as walking or taking the stairs, and improving the quality of your sleep can all help increase your daily calorie burn.

Are there any specific types of exercise that are more effective for burning calories?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), strength training, and cardio exercises like running or cycling can be effective for burning calories during and after exercise. However, the best exercise for you depends on your fitness level, preferences, and overall health goals. Consulting with a fitness professional can provide personalized recommendations.


Now that you have a better understanding of how daily calorie burn works, you can take control of your weight management journey with confidence. With the right knowledge and mindset, you can achieve your weight management goals and live a healthier, more energetic life. Start making informed choices today and take charge of your daily calorie burn!

If you found this article helpful, don’t keep it to yourself! Share it with a friend who might also benefit from this information. And be sure to check out my full blog for more tips and insights on optimizing your health and wellness.


Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.