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How Many Calories are Burned by Sitting?


Last modified 4th December 2015

Welcome to the sitting section of DietandFitnessToday and the associated calories burned and weight lost. Here we present a list of 63 activities based on the general description of sitting and the calories burnt for a typical man and woman.

These sitting activities range from the highest calorie burn from 'sitting and playing drums' which burns 164 calories in 30 minutes through to the activity 'sitting and laughing' which has the lowest calorie burn of 43 calories in 30 minutes, for a typical adult weighing 190 pounds (86 Kg).

To help you find the information you need, we first focus on the most common sitting activities. This is followed by the activities with the highest, lowest and average burnt calories per minute and per hour

We also cover the predicted weight loss from sitting, typical food calorie equivalents and our new proprietary calories burned score© and calories burned rank©

For sitting, fidgeting feet, which is a typical intensity activity under the general description of sitting activities, the average calories burned by a person weighing 190 pounds (86 Kg) in 30 minutes is 78 Calories. In one hour the same activity will burn 155 Calories.

Effect of Intensity on the Calorie Calculator

Although the above is a typical example for sitting, the calculator we use to determine the calories burnt depends on the intensity, duration and your body weight. At the bottom of the article we have a variety of different intensities which can be personalized based on your weight and the duration of the activities, using our free calculator.

Calorie Score and Calorie Rank for Sitting

At dietandfitnesstoday we have a new proprietary concept of a Calories Burned Score© and Calories Burned Rank©.

The calorie score gives an indication of the relative burn rate measured as a percentage score out of 100 for the different sitting activities, where 100% is the maximum calorie burn which we estimate from running at a pace of 4 minutes per mile which is a world class speed for running for 30 mins.

The calorie rank is the rank of the activity compared with all other 800 activities in our database to give an indication of the percentage of activities which have a higher or lower calorie burn. A rank of 1 means it is the highest ranking activity in terms or calorie burn and a rank of 100 means it is the activity with the lowest carlorie burn compared with all other activities.

Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for a Typical sitting Activity

As we have previously mentioned Sitting, fidgeting feet is a moderate and typical level of intensity for sitting and can be used as a general representative approximate measure for calories burnt by sitting. For this activity in 30 minutes an average man weighing 190 pounds (86 kg) burns 78 Calories, while an average woman weighing 163 pounds (74 kg), in 30 minutes burns 67 Calories.

Calories Per Minute

The calories burned per minute for Sitting, fidgeting feet is 3 Calories per minute, for a typical man and for a typical female is 2 Calories per minute.

Calories Per Hour

The calories lost in one hour is 155 calories for a typical man, and 133 calories in one hour for a typical woman.

How to Burn 100 Calories

To burn 100 calories for a typical male would require 33 minutes of the activity sitting, fidgeting feet and to burn 100 calories with the same sitting activity for a typical female would take 50 minutes.

Score and Rank

Sitting, fidgeting feet has a Calorie Burned Score© of 4.8 out of 100 which means it gives a calorie burn of 4.8 % of the highest realistic calorie burn possible. This activity has a Calorie Burned Rank© of 94 out of 100 ie it is in the top 94 % of activities in terms of calorie burn. There are in fact 757 activities that have a higher calorie burn than sitting, fidgeting feet

Equivalent Activities

The following activities burn the same number of calories as Sitting, fidgeting feet -

  • accordion, sitting
  • drawing, writing, painting, standing
  • engineer (e.g., mechanical or electrical)
  • fishing, jog or line, standing, general
  • flying airplane or helicopter

Comparison with Inactivity

30 mins of inactivity for example just sitting and watching television burns 43 calories for a typical man and 37 calories for a typical woman. Which means Sitting, fidgeting feet burns 2.0 times more calories than the equivalent time of inactivity for an average man and 1.8 times more calories for an average female.

Food Calorie Equivalents

This level of 78 calories burnt by an average man sitting, fidgeting feet is equivalent to 0.1 Big Macs, 0.3 snickers bar, 0.7 Starbucks Grande Skinny Lattes, 0.3 cheeseburgers, 0.3 slices of pizza or 0.2 large blueberry muffins.

For an average female burning 67 calories is equivalent to 0.1 Big Macs, 0.2 snickers bar, 0.6 Starbucks Grande Skinny Lattes, 0.2 cheeseburgers, 0.2 slices of pizza or 0.2 large blueberry muffins.

Weight Loss from Sitting

To answer the question how many pounds will I lose from the activity sitting? Taking this example of sitting, fidgeting feet in 30 minutes, the weight loss for a typical man is a minimum of 0.01 pounds, and a typical woman would lose 0.01 pounds.

Based on 4 sessions per week of sitting, fidgeting feet for a duration of 30 minutes per session, the approximate time taken to lose one pound is 25 weeks for a man and 25 weeks for a woman, assuming no other changes in lifestyle or eating habits.

The same 4 sessions per week of sitting, fidgeting feet for a duration of 30 minutes per session, would lose 1kg in 10 weeks for a man and 12 weeks for a woman.

Sitting Activity with the Highest Calorie Burn

The highest number of calories burned for an average person is achieved by sitting and playing drums. For this activity in 30 minutes an average man burns 164 Calories, while an average woman in 30 minutes burns 140 Calories.

This activity of sitting and playing drums has a Calories Burned Score© of 13.8 out of 100 which means it gives a calorie burn of 13.8 % of the maximum realistic calorie burn possible. This activity has a Calories Burned Rank© of 78 out of 100 ie it is in the top 78 % of activities in terms of calorie burn. There are in fact 468 activities that have a higher calorie burn than sitting and playing drums

Sitting Activity with the Lowest Calorie Burn

The sitting activity with the lowest calories burnt is sitting and laughing, which for an average man in 30 minutes burns 43 Calories, and for an average woman burns 37 Calories.

This activity of sitting and laughing has a Calories Burned Score© of 1.2 out of 100 which means it gives a calorie burn of 1.2 % of the maximum realistic calorie burn possible. This activity has a Calories Burned Rank© of 98 out of 100 ie it is in the top 98 % of activities in terms of calorie burn. There are in fact 827 activities that have a higher calorie burn than sitting and laughing

Average Calories Burned by Sitting

Based on the the list of 63 sitting activities, shown below, the average calories burned for an average male, weighing 190 pounds (86 kg) is 78 Calories for 30 minutes of sitting. The average burnt for an average female, weighing 163 pounds (74 kg) is 67 Calories for 30 minutes of sitting.

Sitting for 30 minutes - Calories Burned Calculator

Calories Burned in 30 minutes of sitting for Average Male (M) and Female (F) (click to personalise).
sitting and playing drums - calories  Male=164 kcal, Female=140 kcal.
drumming (e.g., bongo, conga, benbe), moderate, sitting - calories  Male=129 kcal, Female=111 kcal.
sitting, arts and crafts, carving wood, weaving, spinning wool, moderate effort - calories  Male=129 kcal, Female=111 kcal.
sitting, teaching stretching or yoga, or light effort exercise class - calories  Male=121 kcal, Female=104 kcal.
camping involving standing, walking, sitting, light-to-moderate effort - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
dressing, undressing, standing or sitting - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
playing the violin while sitting - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
police, driving a squad car, sitting - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
sitting tasks, moderate effort (e.g., pushing heavy levers, riding mower/forklift, crane operation) - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
sitting, moderate work - calories  Male=108 kcal, Female=92 kcal.
cello, sitting - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
playing the piano while sitting - calories  Male=99 kcal, Female=85 kcal.
sitting, playing with child(ren), light effort, only active periods - calories  Male=95 kcal, Female=81 kcal.
breastfeeding, sitting or reclining - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
child care, sitting/kneeling (e.g., dressing, bathing, grooming, feeding, occasional lifting of child), light effort, general - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
cooking or food preparation - standing or sitting or in general (not broken into stand/walk components), manual appliances, light effort - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
fishing from boat or canoe, sitting - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
fishing, ice, sitting - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
flute, sitting - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
grooming, washing hands, shaving, brushing teeth, putting on make-up, sitting or standing - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
ice fishing, sitting - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
organ, sitting - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
playing the guitar (classical or folk) while sitting - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
sitting, child care, only active periods - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
sitting, playing an instrument at church - calories  Male=86 kcal, Female=74 kcal.
accordion, sitting - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
horse cart, driving, standing or sitting - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
retreat/family reunion activities involving sitting, relaxing, talking, eating - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
sitting in church, talking or singing, attending a ceremony, sitting, active participation - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
sitting on toilet, eliminating while standing or squating - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
sitting, arts and crafts, carving wood, weaving, spinning wool, light effort - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
sitting, fidgeting feet - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
sitting, in class, general, including note-taking or class discussion - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
woodwind, sitting - calories  Male=78 kcal, Female=67 kcal.
bathing while sitting - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
board game playing, sitting - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
card playing, sitting - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
chess game, sitting - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
eating while sitting - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
general light office work whilst sitting - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
sitting and performing light effort tai chi or qi gong, martial arts - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
sitting at a sporting event, spectator - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
sitting meetings, light effort, general, and/or with talking involved (e.g., eating at a business meeting) - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
sitting quietly, fidgeting, general, fidgeting hands - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
sitting tasks, light effort (e.g., office work, chemistry lab work, computer work, light assembly repair, watch repair, reading, desk work) - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
sitting, listening to music (not talking or reading) or watching a movie in a theater - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
sitting, meeting, general, and/or with talking involved - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
sitting, talking in person, on the phone, computer, or text messaging, light effort - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
taking medication while sitting or standing - calories  Male=65 kcal, Female=55 kcal.
knitting, sewing, light effort, wrapping presents, sitting - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
police, riding in a squad car, sitting - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting and smoking - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting at a desk, resting head in hands - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting in a whirlpool - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting in church, in service, attending a ceremony, sitting quietly - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting quietly and watching television - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting quietly, general - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting, reading religious materials at home - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting, reading, book, newspaper, etc. - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting, studying, general, including reading and/or writing, light effort - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting, writing, desk work, typing - calories  Male=56 kcal, Female=48 kcal.
sitting and laughing - calories  Male=43 kcal, Female=37 kcal.
sitting, playing traditional video game, computer game - calories  Male=43 kcal, Female=37 kcal.

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You can browse other common activities from our database, from the links below or visit the compendium at https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/home.

Calories Burned Activities


  aerobics
  at work
  badminton
  baseball
  ballet
  ballroom dancing
  basketball
  boxing
  biking
  canoeing
  climbing
  cleaning
  cricket
  cross country skiing
  crossfit
  cycling
  dancing
  exercise
  elliptical
  fishing
  football
  fencing
  gardening
  golf
  gymnastics
  hiking
  horse riding
  housework
  ice skating
  jogging
  judo
  karate
  kayaking
  kick boxing
  pilates
  rodeo sports
  rollerblading
  ropejumping
  rowing
  rugby
  running
  resting
  sailing
  shopping
  sitting
  skating
  skiing
  sleeping
  soccer
  softball
  spinning
  sports
  standing
  step aerobics
  swimming
  tae kwan do
  tennis
  treadmill
  volleyball
  walking
  water polo
  weight lifting
  yoga
  zumba

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Disclaimer: The information provided by Diet & Fitness Today is for general information and should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. You should always consult a licensed physician or medical professional for diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and before starting any weight loss or fitness regime.