Does Driving Actually Burn Calories?

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  • Rocbola
    Rocbola Posts: 1,998 Member
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    Of course you burn calories while driving, but there is no need to log something like that.
  • Awfy
    Awfy Posts: 3 Member
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    I would have agreed with all of you, except I've recently driven 1,000 miles over 2 days, eating fairly normally, and found I had lost nearly 2 kg. Admittedly it was a stressful drive, with girlfriend arguing with me and satnav, heavy rain, car misbehaving, etc!
    I've checked a couple of calorie databases and both give figures around 150-170 cph.
    (Driving back on my own with only satnav for company only earned me 1kg weight loss)
    Why not check it out yourselves?
  • EvgeniZyntx
    EvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,208 Member
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    Now calm down! I'm not going to log my 7 hours of driving in lieu of an actual workout but isn't this interesting?

    Calories Burned Driving a Car

    Driving requires energy. Moving the wheel, using your feet to operate the pedals and turning your head all require calories to power the body. According to CalorieLab.com, on average, a person weighing 150 lbs. will burn about 68 calories an hour driving. A person who weighs 120 lbs. will burn about only 55 calories an hour driving, while a person weighing 220 lbs. will burn about 100.

    Variables

    Calories burned per hour goes up with certain types of cars and certain types of driving. A 150-lb. person driving a bus, heavy truck or tractor burns about 136 calories an hour, and that same person driving a race car burns about 340 calories an hour. Driving a truck, including loading and unloading, will burn about 374 calories an hour, about the same amount in a Whopper Jr. from Burger King.

    Weight Loss and Driving

    Unfortunately, truck driving does not lend itself to weight loss. While the number of calories required to drive a truck is higher than those required to drive a car, a study by the Centers for Disease Control shows that 73 percent of truck drivers are overweight and more than 50 percent are obese. This could be because driving long distances can be boring and eating breaks up the monotony. For instance, a Pew Research poll showed that 41 percent of car drivers had eaten a meal while driving in the last year.

    Read more: http://www.ehow.com/about_5452973_calories-burned-driving.html#ixzz2ZRy1l8Uo

    Yeah, except those driving burns you are reporting are just normal sitting, breathing amounts.
  • snowflake930
    snowflake930 Posts: 2,188 Member
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    You would probably be burning the same number of calories just sitting or maybe even sleeping. Just by living, you are burning calories. Logging it though...............seems kind of ridiculous.

    Losing weight is mostly about eating at a calorie deficit. Exercising is mostly about building muscle (weight training) and making a more healthy circulatory system (cardio).

    Many people do not even eat back exercise calories. Just saying.
  • misskarne
    misskarne Posts: 1,765 Member
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    Hmm. I wonder how many calories I would have burnt while rallying? The average rally was 6 hours or more, and I'd spend most of that time getting tossed about like a ragdoll in harness while trying to keep my voice level, collected and clear.

    I suppose dad would have burned a lot more than me...I was just the talking ballast. :laugh:
  • snowflake930
    snowflake930 Posts: 2,188 Member
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    and, I am probably burning more calories working 11-12 hours 6 days a week in an office with all of the getting up and down and moving around I do. I also have a 90 minute commute driving round trip. Never gave it a thought as being exercise and never will. It is day to day life.
  • BigdaddyTrippy
    BigdaddyTrippy Posts: 1 Member
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    Driving Semi uses lots in a day. Changing gears using a clutch 6 to 8 times between lights. Changing gears to climb hills as well to go down hills. These take lots of arm movements. Your turning head from side to side making sure your not running over people and cars in turns. Your climbing in and out of a tall vehicle. There are lots of other activities done as part of that work too.

    Those that say it's like sitting at your computer typing have little concept of the job. Every job will have some form of cal burn. Some more some less. Semi driving is not driving a taxi.

    As for truck drivers being heavy for a large part of them. They have less for food choices due to how much space is needed for parking. They eat many meals in their semi meaning it has to be mobil friendly food. Not easy to find low calorie foods in hand friendly form, that truck driver has access to. I am not saying it's impossible just very difficult and limited. It's easy to get into bad eating habits driving semi.
  • Debmal77
    Debmal77 Posts: 4,770 Member
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    I'm watching paint dry tomorrow. Can I log that?
  • dhimaan
    dhimaan Posts: 774 Member
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    Yes but it is insignificant.
  • Awfy
    Awfy Posts: 3 Member
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    Snowflake and Debmai seem to have missed the point, it's about getting an accurate balance and not about macho attitudes. I've classed myself as sedentary, therefore virtually any exercise (including not funny watching paint dry) could reasonably be included in the net result. Also, apart from the physical activity, don't forget that driving involves considerable concentration and the brain uses a surprisingly large percentage of calorie expenditure. My example also showed a significant weight loss solely due to driving, which proved the point. I'm going to keep counting the net difference between just existing and driving as a valid exercise for any journey longer than 1 hour.
  • yarwell
    yarwell Posts: 10,477 Member
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    My heart rate is about at its lowest when driving. Physical effort is about the same as holding a laptop or lifting a TV remote.
  • auddii
    auddii Posts: 15,357 Member
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    Awfy wrote: »
    Snowflake and Debmai seem to have missed the point, it's about getting an accurate balance and not about macho attitudes. I've classed myself as sedentary, therefore virtually any exercise (including not funny watching paint dry) could reasonably be included in the net result. Also, apart from the physical activity, don't forget that driving involves considerable concentration and the brain uses a surprisingly large percentage of calorie expenditure. My example also showed a significant weight loss solely due to driving, which proved the point. I'm going to keep counting the net difference between just existing and driving as a valid exercise for any journey longer than 1 hour.

    Yeah, no.
  • auddii
    auddii Posts: 15,357 Member
    edited January 2016
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    yarwell wrote: »
    My heart rate is about at its lowest when driving. Physical effort is about the same as holding a laptop or lifting a TV remote.

    You should move to houston; ridiculous drivers can really get your heart rate going. Still not exercise.
  • snowflake930
    snowflake930 Posts: 2,188 Member
    edited January 2016
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    Awfy wrote: »
    Snowflake and Debmai seem to have missed the point, it's about getting an accurate balance and not about macho attitudes. I've classed myself as sedentary, therefore virtually any exercise (including not funny watching paint dry) could reasonably be included in the net result. Also, apart from the physical activity, don't forget that driving involves considerable concentration and the brain uses a surprisingly large percentage of calorie expenditure. My example also showed a significant weight loss solely due to driving, which proved the point. I'm going to keep counting the net difference between just existing and driving as a valid exercise for any journey longer than 1 hour.

    If you are alive, you are burning calories, so yes, you do burn calories driving, and just living. Exercise, to me, is any activity you do to increase your heart rate or build muscles, beyond day to day living. I have a 45 minute commute one way, to work. I make a conscious effort to move more throughout my day, and get 18K to 20K steps daily, but I only count the 65 minutes I spend at the gym, doing cardio,as exercise. Don't see how that is a macho attitude. It is the way it is. You are not going to get much benefit counting day to day normal activities as exercise, just saying.

  • debrakgoogins
    debrakgoogins Posts: 2,033 Member
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    Are you driving an Indie car around a track at 200 MPH and fighting to keep it from flying off the track? No? Then, no, not any more that your other daily activities do.
  • auddii
    auddii Posts: 15,357 Member
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    Awfy wrote: »
    Snowflake and Debmai seem to have missed the point, it's about getting an accurate balance and not about macho attitudes. I've classed myself as sedentary, therefore virtually any exercise (including not funny watching paint dry) could reasonably be included in the net result. Also, apart from the physical activity, don't forget that driving involves considerable concentration and the brain uses a surprisingly large percentage of calorie expenditure. My example also showed a significant weight loss solely due to driving, which proved the point. I'm going to keep counting the net difference between just existing and driving as a valid exercise for any journey longer than 1 hour.

    And to clarify, sedentary does not mean doing absolutely nothing except breathing and existing all day. I believe the "explanation" they give is works a desk job. That assumes a fair amount of things in the day: that person feeds himself, fork gets moved to mouth. He also goes to a restaurant or grocery store at least occasionally to accomplish this. He gets out of bed in the morning, he walks to the bathroom, he walks to his car, and he drives to work.

    Sedentary is different than minimally conscious, so everyday activities should not be logged as exercise.
  • Geocitiesuser
    Geocitiesuser Posts: 1,429 Member
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    Hello really old thread from the past. I keep getting this thread in google when searching about calories burned while driving. I drove 500 miles a couple of times this week, and it has both times left me feeling exhausted, so I've been researching it a bit.

    There seems to be a bit and back forth on the issue but from what I've seen there tends to be a concensus that there IS an elevated calorie burn from driving (both from being the driver, and to a lesser extend the passenger), because your muscles are constantly making very small corrections to account for the bumps in the road and small adjustments to the wheel.

    Obviously, this extra calorie burn would be very, very low. But still higher than something like watching TV.

    One calorie burn calculator estimates it at around 68 calories per hour for a 150lb person. I have to imagine that is gross calorie burn though. So if I was going to make a completely hypothetical guess at net calorie burn, I'd wager it burns 5-20 net calories per hour depending on body size.

    For most still probably not worth logging. But it's fun food for thought. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if a 5 hour drive resulted in an extra 70 calories burned.
  • ShrinkingViolet1982
    ShrinkingViolet1982 Posts: 919 Member
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    I wouldn't log this, only because it doesn't raise my heart rate. Each to their own, but why log something that doesn't give you cardiovascular benefit?
  • FreyasRebirth
    FreyasRebirth Posts: 514 Member
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    If you were to drive an antique (no power steering, ect), that could be a workout.
  • Chadxx
    Chadxx Posts: 1,199 Member
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    Driving Semi uses lots in a day. Changing gears using a clutch 6 to 8 times between lights. Changing gears to climb hills as well to go down hills. These take lots of arm movements. Your turning head from side to side making sure your not running over people and cars in turns. Your climbing in and out of a tall vehicle. There are lots of other activities done as part of that work too.

    Those that say it's like sitting at your computer typing have little concept of the job. Every job will have some form of cal burn. Some more some less. Semi driving is not driving a taxi.

    As for truck drivers being heavy for a large part of them. They have less for food choices due to how much space is needed for parking. They eat many meals in their semi meaning it has to be mobil friendly food. Not easy to find low calorie foods in hand friendly form, that truck driver has access to. I am not saying it's impossible just very difficult and limited. It's easy to get into bad eating habits driving semi.

    As a professional driver, I completely agree with this, especially regarding food. I now pack my meals in a cooler and just eat them cold everyday because I refuse to eat crap and get fat again. Btw, you forgot about getting beat to death bouncing around, especially on lease roads or in construction zones. I don't log it but it definitely isn't sitting at a desk.