Opening the Doors to Healthier and Stress-Free Living
A Column by Alice Abbott-Moore,
Content Access/Information Delivery Teams, Ekstrom Library

The All-Mighty Calorie

Now that we have thawed out from the winter and are well into spring, a lot of us are finding ourselves moving around much more. For the next few months we will not have to fight winter coats nor hectic schedules; activities are winding down for the summer. Ah, this is when we can spring back into action! We can get caught up in our homes, gardens, and fun activities!

People often use the spring and summer to get back into shape. Folks are seen in the grocery buying “healthier” foods including a lot of reduced calorie and reduced fat items. But some folks do not seem to grasp the fact that even if one consumes less fat, one still must burn calories to lose mass. Recent news reports indicate that people in this country are heavier than ever. One would think that with all of the dietary food that is readily available that such a situation would not be. Again, such weight gain is most likely due to the fact that more calories, even with fat-free or reduced fat, have been consumed than burned. Unfortunately, some folks believe that if an item contains less fat, then they can eat more of that item. While fat-free items have less fat, they often contain more sugar and sodium. Unused sugar converts to fat. So, the adage that “a calorie is a calorie” holds very true.

In other words, we need to move. For those who physically move a lot during their jobs, that is not a problem. For others who are more sedentary, movement is crucial.

Anyone interested in trying to start a workout program should consider the concept: that everyone has a "workout personality." In other words, pairing exercise to one's personality is vital. According to Dr. Charles Yokomoto, PhD., a consultant who for years has studied personality type and sports, "someone whose kitchen cupboards are organized alphabetically may fare best with a workout that has rules and parameters. Someone who prefers going standby for vacations will appreciate exercise that's more free-flowing. When there's a mismatch, you're more likely to reject exercise without really knowing why." (

If working out at a gym or track doesn’t spur much interest, consider other forms of exercise--some aerobic and some anaerobic. All are therapeutic in some way, reducing aggression and stress.

The following table gives information about how many calories common activities can burn in a given hour. For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds will burn the following amounts of calories by performing 60 minutes of the following activities:

Activity Calories Burned
Bicycling 5.5 mph 244
Bicycling 10 mph 414
Bicycling 13 mph 654
Bowling 189
Calisthenics 414
Aerobic dancing (low) 274
Aerobic dancing (medium) 444
Aerobic dancing (high) 654
Domestic work 249
Fishing (boat) 135
Gardening 390
Golf (@ rate of 9 holes in 2 hrs) 270
Hiking (20 lb pack at 2 mph 300
Horseback riding 414
Running (7 mph) 702
Swimming (30 yards per minute) 420
Tennis (singles, recreational) 424
Walking (3.5 mph) 318
Weight-lifting 300
Yoga 229

So, find an activity, or even better yet, activities, and move, move, move!! While you're at it -- enjoy it!

"What's Your Workout Personality?" Prevention's Healthy Ideas. Copyright © 1997 Wire Networks, Inc. and Rodale Press, Inc.