Does Reading Burn Calories? How It Aids Weight Loss; Type Matters

Could flipping through pages and immersing yourself in a good story actually help you shed pounds? Many book lovers ask, “Does reading burn calories?” and the answer might surprise you. While it’s not a fast track to weight loss, reading does have its perks for your waistline.

In this text, we’ll explore how reading can contribute to weight loss, investigate the relationship between reading and physical activity, and offer tips to enhance calorie burn during your reading sessions. Plus, we’ll investigate if the type of material you’re poring over makes a difference in your calorie expenditure.

How Reading Can Help with Weight Loss

Mental Stimulation and Calorie Burn

When you jump into an engrossing audiobook, your brain’s mental machinery kicks into high gear. Mental stimulation from processing a narrative requires energy, just like any physical activity. It’s surprising but true: reading burns calories. Your brain, while not a muscle, uses glucose to fuel its complex activities.

Audiobooks challenge your imagination, compelling you to visualize scenes and comprehend language, thus increasing your energy expenditure. Even though the calories burned reading might not be substantial enough for significant weight loss, every bit helps in your fitness journey. As you listen to a mystery unravel or a romance blossom, your brain’s engagement can slightly raise your calorie burn rate. In essence, how many calories does reading burn? It may be more than the passive alternative of merely sitting idle.

Length of Reading Sessions

Longer audiobook sessions can contribute to a higher total calorie expenditure. But how many calories do you burn reading for extended periods? While calories burned reading an audiobook might not compare to a sprint on the treadmill, substantial listening times do add up. An extended audiobook session easily surpasses the idle time spent, say, watching TV, in terms of calories spent.

Consistent audiobook consumption, especially during activities such as driving or cleaning, can elevate your day’s total calorie count. Regular, longer sessions increase cognitive involvement, which may lead to a higher cumulative calories burned reading effect. An hour or more spent absorbed in an audiobook can subtly contribute to your calorie-burning goals, supporting a broader weight management strategy.

Listening to audiobooks can be a practical addition to a multifaceted approach to wellness. With the ease of pressing play, you can immerse yourself in storytelling while subtly supporting your body’s energy cycle. The next time you consider your leisure activities, remember that reading burns calories, and with audiobooks, it’s more convenient than ever to fit into your daily routine.

The Connection Between Reading and Physical Activity

Reading and Exercise

Reading on its own isn’t typically categorized as physical exercise. Yet, it’s important to recognize that reading burns calories—just not at the same rate as traditional exercises. When you’re immersed in an audiobook, for instance, it doesn’t replace your daily workout, but it contributes to your overall daily calorie expenditure. While the physical act of reading a book may not significantly boost your calorie burn, how many calories does reading burn while you’re engaging with an audiobook during your exercise routine can add up. This combination allows you to enrich your mind while also tending to your body’s fitness. ### Reading and Body Movement

Body movement, even when minimal, increases calorie burn. So, if you’re reading the traditional way, moving about while flipping through pages does result in slightly higher calorie usage. With audiobooks, the potential for body movement is greater. You can stroll, perform household chores, or even jog while listening, effectively burning more calories than you would if stationary. It’s a multifaceted approach to calories burned reading, wherein the physical action, alongside the mental engagement, combines for a more substantial energy expenditure than reading in silence.

Reading and Non-Exercise Activities

You might be surprised to learn that non-exercise activities like reading can still contribute to your daily calories burned. How many calories do you burn reading during activities outside of deliberate exercise? While negligible on their own, these activities cumulatively enhance your day’s total calorie burn. If you’re spending hours engaged with an audiobook, remember that even though reading has a passive nature, there is still a metabolic cost to brain functions, meaning that reading burns calories, albeit modestly. Integrating audiobooks into your daily routine capitalizes on this subtle calorie burn without disrupting your schedule.

Tips for Maximizing Calorie Burn While Reading

Ever wondered how many calories does reading burn? While it’s not the same as hitting the gym, you can maximize the calorie-burning potential of your reading time with these effective strategies.

First, consider switching to audiobooks. This allows you to move around freely, combining reading with physical tasks. Pacing or even walking while listening can significantly increase the number of calories burned reading compared to sitting still. Here are a few tips to amp up your calorie expenditure:

  • Stand Up and Move: If you opt for traditional reading, try standing or walking in place. Your body burns more calories when you’re on your feet.
  • Combine Reading with Exercise: Listen to an audiobook while working out. It’s a multitasking win that keeps your mind engaged and body active.
  • Track Your Reading: Use a book tracker to set and achieve reading goals, which can encourage you to spend more time reading and, as a result, burn calories.
  • Household Chores: Listen to your favorite novel while doing household chores. Dusting, cleaning, or cooking while consuming literature can up your daily calorie expenditure.

Keep in mind that calories burned reading can complement other forms of exercise. Integrating reading into activities you’re already doing helps create a sustainable, calorie-burning lifestyle.

About the actual numbers, you might be curious about how many calories do you burn reading. On average, you might burn around 150 calories during a reading session of 1 hour and 45 minutes. The table below shows how the calorie burn varies with different reading activities:

| Activity | Estimated Calorie Burn |
| — | — |
| Reading Sitting Down | 150 calories/1 hour 45 min |
| Reading While Walking | Higher than sitting down |
| Listening to Audiobooks During Exercise | Maximum calorie burn |

Remember, personal factors such as body weight, fitness level, and metabolic rate influence your specific calorie burn. So, whether it’s through audiobooks or print, incorporating these tips can make reading burn calories more effectively. Keep turning those pages or hitting play, and you’re not just feeding your mind—you’re also contributing to your body’s fitness.

Does the Type of Reading Material Matter

Fiction vs Non-Fiction

When pondering does reading burn calories, you might wonder if what you read makes a difference. Fiction and non-fiction present unique experiences that influence your caloric expenditure. Fiction, with its engaging narratives and emotional depths, might cause you to burn more calories due to an increased heart rate during exciting or stressful plot points. In contrast, non-fiction tends to be more informational, potentially requiring less emotional involvement, and so could lead to a slightly lower calorie burn.

  • Fiction captivates; your heart rate could increase.
  • Non-fiction informs; potentially less emotional exertion.

The fact is, whether you jump into a thrilling novel or a thought-provoking biography, reading burns calories simply through the brain’s effort to process information. While the difference in calories burned between fiction and non-fiction is nominal, it exists, nonetheless.

Technical or Educational Material

If you’re reading technical or educational material, your brain’s engagement level shifts. This type of content often demands heightened concentration and mental effort, which could result in a higher calorie burn. Just as a muscle works harder during strength training compared to a leisurely stroll, your brain works harder when decoding complex concepts.

  • Complex content may increase mental effort.
  • Higher concentration equates to more calories burned reading.

How many calories does reading burn when you’re grappling with challenging content? The number varies, but know that your brain’s intense focus during these sessions is actively burning calories. If you incorporate audiobooks featuring technical subjects into your routine, you may experience a similar metabolic impact as you concentrate on comprehending the material.


  • Mental exertion parallels caloric output.
  • Even technical audiobooks contribute to your calorie burn.

Reading, in any form, contributes to your daily calorie expenditure. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or highly technical material, your brain’s workout is assured—it’s a subtle yet consistent burn. Keep in mind, how many calories do you burn reading depends on the complexity of the material and your level of engagement. Reading not only enriches your mind, it subtly contributes to your body’s fitness.


You’ve seen how immersing yourself in a gripping novel or delving into complex material can indeed contribute to your body’s calorie-burning process. While you shouldn’t swap your workout routine for a book club, it’s clear that reading plays a role in your metabolic rate. So next time you pick up a book, remember it’s not just food for thought—you’re also giving your body a subtle yet valuable burn. Keep turning those pages and enjoy the added bonus to your mind and metabolism.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does reading burn more calories than watching TV?

Yes, reading burns more calories than watching TV because it involves more mental effort, keeping the brain active and increasing metabolic rate.

What is the laziest way to burn calories?

The laziest ways to burn calories include relaxing on the beach, gardening, walking leisurely, engaging in leisure sports, practicing yoga, and improving posture while sitting.

Does crying burn more calories?

Crying does burn a small amount of calories, estimated at 1.3 calories per minute, but it is not an effective way to burn a significant number of calories.

Does anxiety burn calories?

Anxiety can lead to an increase in metabolism due to the body’s preparation for a fight or flight response, which may result in calorie burn and potential weight loss.

Is reading good for you to lose weight?

Reading can contribute to weight loss by reducing stress, which is a common cause of overeating, thereby potentially aiding in maintaining a weight loss regimen.

Read more from our blog