Top Health Tools
Top Health Tools
Top Reports
Top Reports
Top Articles
Top Articles
Top Reviews
Top Reviews


April 3, 2013 by APRIL McCARTHY
Which of The Following Activities Burns The Least Amount of Calories?

Take a look at the image below. When one of the following six activities burns the least amount of calories? The answer may surprise you.

a. sleeping
b. sitting, playing video games
c. sitting, watching TV
d. sitting, browsing the internet
e. sitting, staring at the wall
f. lying down, talking on the phone

Most people incorrectly answer sleeping. However, sitting and watching TV burns the least amount of calories of any of the activities depicted above, including sleeping.

The reasons are many. First check out the break down of calories burned per hour for an average 160 pound person:

a. sleeping -- 74 calories burned per hour
b. sitting, playing video games -- 128 calories burned per hour
c. sitting, watching TV -- 68 calories burned per hour
d. sitting, browsing the internet -- 102 calories burned per hour
e. sitting, staring at the wall -- 83 calories burned per hour
f. lying down, talking on the phone -- 99 calories burned per hour

The actual number of calories burned by a specific individual depends on his or her Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

The intensity of the actvity could also influence calorie consumption to a greater extent. For example, playing a very competitive video game can raise the heart rate and even make a person sweat, increasing calorie consumption by another 7-15 percent. Having a very intense or exciting conversation on the phone can also increase the value by another 5-10 percent per hour. And the fact that sitting and staring at the wall burns more calories than watching TV is demonstrative of the brain's ability to remain more active than sitting in front of the tube.

Regarding sleep, many physiological functions are slowed during our snooze time, but some of these processes are actually maintained or increased. Brain activity varies during cycles of sleep and at some stages can be as active as if we were fully awake. The brain is literally more active while sleeping than watching TV.

Certain physiological activities associated with digestion, cell repair, and growth are often greatest during sleep. Additionally, growth hormone is released at an increased rate during sleep. Our brains and bodies are at work while we sleep. Sleep is reparative and rejuvenating and requires caloric expenditure. Logging 8 hours of sleep each night actually helps your metabolism function at an optimal level. With 5.5 hours of sleep at night, your metabolic rates slows to the point where 2800 less calories are burned over the course of a single week.

What Happens To The Brain and Body While We Watch Television

Studies show that while watching television, the brain appears to slow to a halt. The brain registers low alpha wave readings, similar to a light hypnotic state, on an EEG. Alpha brain waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness. Mindless snacking is a common occurrence when in TV watching mode.

Many people may not realize that when they turn on the television in their home, what they see as a constant flow of images is actually flickering. Although we do not see this consciously, the repetitive pattern of flickering images creates a state that is similar to hypnosis in the television viewer. Studies by researcher Herbert Krugman have shown that within 30 seconds of television viewing, brain waves switch from predominantly beta waves, indicating alert and conscious attention, to predominantly alpha waves, indicating an unfocused, receptive lack of attention.

The brain's left hemisphere, which processes information logically and analytically, tunes out while the person is watching TV, while the right hemisphere of the brain, which processes information emotionally and non-critically, is allowed to function without hindrance. Due to this phenomenon, television transmits information, which is not actively thought about at the time of exposure, much like hypnosis. When viewing television, we do not consciously rationalize the information resonating within our unconscious depths at the time of transmission and the viewer becomes more open and suggestible.

The average American watches about four hours of television per day, a habit that’s been linked to overweight or obesity in a number of studies. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a long-term study monitoring the health of American adults, revealed that people with overweight and obesity spend more time watching television than people of normal weight. Watching television more than two hours a day also raises the risk of overweight in children, even in those as young as three years old.

Part of the problem may be that people are watching television instead of exercising or doing other activities that burn more calories (watching TV burns only slightly more calories than sleeping, and less than other sedentary pursuits such as sewing or reading). But food advertisements also may play a significant role. The average hour-long TV show features about 11 food and beverage commercials, which encourage people to eat. And studies show that eating food in front of the TV stimulates people to eat more calories, and particularly more calories from fat. In fact, a study that limited the amount of TV kids watched demonstrated that this practice helped them lose weight -- but not because they became more active when they weren’t watching TV. The difference was that the children ate more snacks when they were watching television than when doing other activities, even sedentary ones.

Check Out All Our Health Calculators

April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.

Reference Sources 89, 101, 151, 170, 244
STAY CONNECTEDNewsletter | RSS | Twitter | YouTube |
This site is owned and operated by 1999-2018. All Rights Reserved. All content on this site may be copied, without permission, whether reproduced digitally or in print, provided copyright, reference and source information are intact and use is strictly for not-for-profit purposes. Please review our copyright policy for full details.
volunteerDonateWrite For Us
Stay Connected With Our Newsletter