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Published: March, 2005; Vol 1, Num 10

 

Burning Calories on the Job

By Peggy Bolz

You’ve heard people say it before, working is not regular exercise. Tell that to your aching body at the end of the day!

What should be said is that work should not be your only exercise, since the truth is that working burns calories, too, and the heavier the work, the more calories burned.

The body needs about 12 calories per pound of body weight every day to keep the organs functioning and maintain normal body temperature. That means, if you weigh 200 lbs, you should eat 2,400 calories (12 x 200 lbs) per day just to stay alive.

Additional calories are needed to fuel every other activity, including work activities.

Using the chart below, you can figure out about how many calories you burn during a work shift, based on the activity and how long you perform it.

WORK ACTIVITES
CALORIES BURNED

15 MINUTES

1 HOUR

 

Building a road (including hauling debris, driving heavy machinery)
114
456
Carrying moderate loads upstairs (16 – 40 lbs)
159
637
Carrying heavy loads (such as bricks)
159
637
Directing traffic for road building
23
91
Excavating trenches
171
684
Heavy shoveling (more than 16 lbs/minute)
182
728
Loading and unloading a truck
125
501
Masonry, concrete
137
548
Moving, pushing heavy objects (75 lbs or more)
148
592
Remodeling (outside construction)
102
410
Using heavy power tools (jackhammer, drills, tampers, etc.)
114
456
Using heavy tools, no power (pick, spade, etc.)
159
637
Walking, carrying objects 25 – 49 lbs
91
364
Carrying objects 50 – 74 lbs
125
501
Carrying objects 75 – 99 lbs
148
592
Carrying objects 100 lbs or more
171
684

When balancing the calories you take in with the calories burned, include work activities, but remember that the road to a healthier body should also include regular recreational exercise, too. Both activities burn calories; one is just a lot more fun.

For more information, contact the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) office nearest you, or visit www.calorielab.com.