Fibion Blog • The Energy Hamburger (Part 2) - You Don't Need to #Workout • Arto Pesola

The Energy Hamburger (Part 2) – You Don’t Need to #Workout Energy Hamburger (Part 2) – You Do not Need to Workout

The Energy Hamburger (Part 2) – You Don’t Need to #Workout

Expending energy includes a lot more than just recreational exercise. We can do shoulder shrugs for other reasons than to simply indicate our lack of knowledge. In other words, we can exercise every day.

Researchers in the USA asked approximately 10000 people what they do during a 24 hour period. Subjects reported all of their activity from driving in the car to cleaning and exercise. To their surprise, the researchers found that exercise made up only a small portion of daily energy expenditure. If you exercise at moderate intensity twice a week, your average energy expenditure over that week is approximately 100 kcal per day. Exercise explained only 5% of daily energy expenditure difference between people of the same size. 

If you do not exercise, increasing your daily energy expenditure is completely at the mercy of your daily physical activity (every day exercise). Don’t worry; there is still hope! Daily physical activity accounts for a whopping 95% of daily energy expenditure difference between people of the same size. The truth is, the difference between two individuals’ daily energy expenditure can be up to 2000 kcal, which is equal to the amount of kilocalories found in four Big Mac hamburgers!

Here is a concrete example:

Household chores account for approximately 20% and 33% of the difference between men’s and women’s daily energy expenditure, respectively. Dutch researchers gathered a number of studies together in which daily activity and expenditure were measured with accurate measurement devices. The researchers found that low intensity activity accounted for the vast majority of energy expenditure in a large population, while high-intensity exercise barely had an effect on energy expenditure in the same population. Mopping the floors and vacuuming may have a greater importance in the energy hamburger than we previously thought.

Has something happened in our level of activity in the last decades?

Arto Pesola
Arto Pesola

Everyday Activity Scientist


Fibion Inc.

PhD in Exercise Physiology, Author of the 'Revolution of Natural Exercise' book

Some years ago, I was asked about my future plans. Without much of thinking I replied: “I want to make the world a better place where people don’t need to sit so much”. This spontaneous answer was the leading light to finish my PhD degree and forward to new business opportunities in health technology aiming at making life healthier - with less sitting. For my blog posts, I have used material from my book "Luomuliikunnan vallankumous" (engl. The revolution of everyday activity) (Fitra 2014).