Everyday activities — even fidgeting at your desk or belly laughs during a funny movie — combine to burn calories to one degree or another. And obviously, an active day with your kids or spending the afternoon on yard work will definitely expend more energy than lounging on the sofa watching TV. If you are not motivated to exercise in 30-minute spurts performing heart-healthy workouts such as jogging or playing tennis, just know that even at rest, your body is burning calories. Your daily basal metabolic rate, which is measured in calories, is the energy required to keep your body functioning.
The Bottom Line
Your BMR will vary based on your age, height, sex and weight, and will fluctuate slightly with such factors as stress, illness and fear. For example, a 35-year-old, 155-pound woman of average height will have an average BMR of just above 1,470 calories. Add in the 184 calories burned during eight hours of sleep and she will have burned 1,654 calories without having to exert much energy at all. Your daily activities, without the added exertion of exercise add up — but not to the point where you have leave to over-indulge on your diet.