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How Many Calories Does Reading Burn?

author image Jon Williams
Jon Williams is a clinical psychologist and freelance writer. He has performed, presented and published research on a variety of psychological and physical health issues.
How Many Calories Does Reading Burn?
A woman reading a document. Photo Credit: Pawel_Czaja/iStock/Getty Images

You know reading is good for your mind, but you may wonder if there is any benefit for your body. You do burn some calories while reading, so maybe your practice of reading about diets helps you even before you implement the diet.

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Weight and Calories

The more you weigh, the more calories you burn. It takes additional energy to circulate your blood and tend to basic physiological functions when you have greater mass.

Lying Down

The 140 pound person burns about 50 calories per hour while reading lying down. The 160 pound person burns 67 calories lying down to read.


Sit up while you read to burn more calories. The 140 pound person burns 67 calories sitting and reading and the 180 pound person burns 86 calories while sitting.

Further Factors

The calories you burn reading are expended on basic metabolic and maintenance processes more than on the reading per se. Even a riveting page turner doesn’t demand much exertion from you. The more muscle mass you have, the greater your metabolism. Work out between reading sessions and you’ll burn even more by reading. Or, chew calorie-free gum while you read and chew off another 11 calories per hour.

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