All activities burn calories. Coughing may not be a huge calorie burner, but it is nice to know that you may gain a little extra benefit from this uncomfortable activity.
Coughing burns energy, and calories are a measurement of energy burned. The amount of calories that your body uses during coughing is measured by how extreme your cough is, as well as its duration. If you are coughing for a long period of time you will burn more calories than a simple throat clearing cough. If you have a deep, body-racking cough, you could expect to be at the top of your calorie burning scale.
Breathing and other basic functions require some energy. Your Base Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy, or calories, that your body requires to survive. Each activity that goes beyond the basics will increase your caloric output. Coughing may use two to three calories per cough, depending on your individual metabolism and body make up.
Coughing burns minimal calories, but you may increase caloric expenditure during Illness as you use extra energy to heal. If you lose weight loss during an illness, it is based on increased caloric needs as well as your decreased desire to eat.