The very word calories conjure up images of lip-smacking food and drink which you love so dearly. And along with it, with quiet steps comes the feeling of guilt too. Resisting your favourite food sounds like battling a devil inside and losing weight is tantamount to attaining enlightenment. Most of us can relate to this. Isn’t it? And when you talk about weight, all we know is- fewer calories means weight loss and more calories means weight gain. You often hear your close buddies giving you advice on what to eat, what not to eat to get those envious curves or physique. But have you ever seriously wondered what is calories, how much you need it and how can you balance it without depriving yourself of your favourite food?

Up, close and personal!

First get to know what calorie is. A calorie is a unit of energy. Simply it is a measurement of the energy a food can give. Suppose there is a food that contains 100 calories, it means when you eat this food your body gets 100 calories. And our body can either store these calories or burn them. When we take calories they get transformed into different types of energy that your body uses or produces every day such as heat energy, sound energy, electrical energy and kinetic (movement) energy.  And if the calories are excess and not burned then they get stored in our body as fat.

How many calories one needs depends on different factors like age, height, sex, metabolic rate, activities you do etc. On an average woman requires around 2000 calories per day and man need 2,500 calories.

Walking a tightrope!

To keep fit and healthy you need to take care of one thing- your calories intake should be in balance with a number of calories you burn. Of course, it’s not easy but not that difficult either. And to maintain that balance you need to know how many calories you take in a day and how many you burn. And if you wish to lose weight then you need to burn more calories than you take. That is when your body will burn the excess body fat to make up the difference.

Take your pick!

Here is a list of some of the activities and a number of calories you can burn while indulging in them:

  1. Dancing/aerobics – 420+
  2. Power walk- 600+
  3. Jogging-500 +
  4. Skipping with a rope-700+
  5. Rowing-550+
  6. Swimming -423+
  7. Cycling -650
  8. Gardening -350+
  9. Running – 700+
  10. Slow walk- 200+

Don’t underestimate the power of …little acts!

We all know intake of fewer calories and exercising can help you reduce your weight or to keep fit. But in addition to that here are some simple and easy ways of burning those undesirable calories:

  • When you have both the options, lift and stairs choose stairs. It’s really not that difficult.
  • When you are talking on a phone, rather than sitting and talking move around and talk. You would not even get to know that you are making that extra effort to burn calories.
  • When you are at your workplace, rather than choosing to communicate every little thing through email or chat, walk up to your colleague. In a day even if you do it a few times, it does make a difference.
  • Don’t just sit and do things at home. Try moving around as much as possible.
  • If you have a sitting job, do some stretching ever now and then. You can do it on your seat itself.
  • If you have to go for some shopping in a nearby store or a market, walk down rather then driving.

So you don’t need to refrain from your favourite food all the time, you can indulge in sinful dishes once in a while without that guilt. All you need to do is burn those extra calories through exercise or various activities.