What Is the Difference Between Active Calories and Total Calories

What Is the Difference Between Active Calories and Total Calories?

When it comes to tracking our daily calorie burn, there are often two types of calories that are mentioned – active calories and total calories. While both these terms are associated with energy expenditure, they represent different aspects of our physical activity. Understanding the difference between active calories and total calories can help us make better decisions about our fitness goals and overall health.

Active Calories:

Active calories refer to the number of calories burned through intentional physical activity. These are the calories that we burn when we engage in activities like running, biking, swimming, or any other form of exercise. Active calories are the result of our conscious efforts to move our bodies and engage in activities that increase our heart rate and energy expenditure. These calories are often tracked using fitness trackers or smartwatches that monitor our heart rate, steps, and other metrics.

Total Calories:

Total calories, on the other hand, represent the overall energy expenditure of our body throughout the day, including both active and resting calories. Resting calories are the calories burned when we are at rest, such as when we are sleeping or sitting idle. These calories are essential for our body’s basic functions like breathing, circulating blood, and maintaining body temperature. Total calories provide a comprehensive view of our daily energy expenditure, including the calories burned during physical activity as well as those burned during rest.

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14 Common Questions about Active Calories and Total Calories:

1. Which type of calories is more important for weight loss?

While both active and total calories contribute to weight loss, active calories have a more direct impact as they result from intentional physical activity. Engaging in regular exercise can help create a calorie deficit and facilitate weight loss.

2. Do active calories contribute to overall calorie burn?

Yes, active calories are included in the total calorie burn of our body. They are a part of the overall energy expenditure along with resting calories.

3. Can we lose weight only focusing on active calories?

Focusing solely on active calories can help in weight loss, but it is important to remember that total calorie intake and overall lifestyle factors also play a significant role. Balancing both calorie intake and active calorie burn is crucial for sustainable weight loss.

4. How can we track active calories accurately?

Using fitness trackers or smartwatches that monitor your heart rate and activity levels can provide a more accurate estimate of active calories burned during exercise.

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5. Are total calories burned the same for everyone?

No, total calories burned vary from person to person based on factors like age, weight, sex, metabolism, and activity levels.

6. What is the best way to increase active calorie burn?

Engaging in activities that elevate your heart rate like cardio exercises, HIIT workouts, or strength training can help increase your active calorie burn.

7. Are active calories burned during strength training?

Yes, strength training also contributes to active calorie burn. While the overall calorie burn might be lower compared to cardio exercises, strength training helps build muscle mass, which increases the body’s metabolic rate in the long run.

8. Do active calories continue to burn after the workout?

Yes, active calories continue to burn even after the workout. This is referred to as the afterburn effect or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate to recover and restore itself to its pre-exercise state.

9. How can we increase total calories burned during the day?

Apart from active calories burned during exercise, increasing your overall physical activity throughout the day, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a walk during breaks, can help increase your total calorie burn.

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10. How do resting calories contribute to weight gain?

Resting calories are necessary for the body’s basic functions, but consuming more calories than what your body needs can lead to weight gain over time.

11. Can we rely solely on total calories to track our energy expenditure?

While total calories provide a comprehensive view of energy expenditure, tracking active calories separately can help individuals monitor their exercise efforts more accurately and set specific fitness goals.

12. Are active calories more important for cardiovascular health?

Active calories are indeed beneficial for cardiovascular health as they contribute to increasing heart rate, improving circulation, and strengthening the heart muscle. However, overall cardiovascular health can also be influenced other lifestyle factors like diet, stress management, and genetics.

13. Are total calories burned during sleep considered resting calories?

Yes, the calories burned during sleep are considered resting calories as the body is at rest during this time.

14. Can we burn more total calories increasing our resting metabolic rate?

Yes, increasing your resting metabolic rate through activities like strength training and building muscle mass can help burn more total calories throughout the day, even when you are at rest.

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