Is there a significant difference in sedentary calorie-burn between a thinker and non-thinker?

Is there a significant difference in sedentary calorie-burn between a thinker and non-thinker?

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I've read that, on average, a sedentary female burns between 1,600 - 2,000 calories and a sedentary male burns between 2,000 and 2,500 calories. I've also read that the brain itself burns quite a few of these.

Let's say two people are exactly the same, and have the exact same (sedentary) lifestyle-except one of them often does intense mathematics. Is there a significant difference in calorie burn?

If so, how much is it?

Is there a significant difference in calorie burn?


The brain, while only making up 2% of our body weight, accounts for ~20% of our energy use at rest. That's because the brain, being critical for survival, is a very high-maintenance organ. At rest, the membrane potentials of all neurons - firing or at "rest" - need to be controlled/maintained.

Of all the energy used by the brain, about 25% of it is needed for signal-independent function (protein synthesis, phospholipid turnover, etc.) Furthermore, there are two types of cells in the brain: neurons and glial cells. The glial cells (about 30%) use from 17 to 40% of the energy depending on whose estimates you use. The rest is needed (by neurons) for signal-related processes - maintaining/restoring cell membrane potential, etc. - only a fraction of which is used for thinking.

The brain never rests - it is highly active even in sleep, with both excitatory and inhibitory activities needing energy. Higher mental functions (e.g. doing math problems) only shifts the areas of highest activity a little bit compared to all the activity that occurs without our awareness of it.

Finally, if we could measure glucose consumption of the entire brain while daydreaming vs. doing math, we might be able to answer that question, but the truth is, brain activity doesn't occur in isolation. Someone doing challenging math problems is using more energy in other areas of the body as well; respiration rate, heart rate, muscle tension, etc. varies with the stress of the challenge, so glucose levels alone can't be relied upon (in fact, stress would increase our body's production of glucose) to indicate energy expenditure.

The end result is that in isolation, rigorous mental activity (which can be maintained only for a relatively short duration without fatigue, so it occurs in bursts) expends very little of the total energy the brain uses.

A common view equates concentrated mental effort with mental work, and it is fashionable to attribute a high demand for mental effort to the process of problem solving in mathematics. Nevertheless, there appears to be no increased energy utilization by the brain during such processes. From resting levels, total cerebral blood flow and oxygen consumption remain unchanged during the exertion of the mental effort required to solve complex arithmetical problems.

Cerebral Metabolic Rate in Various Physiological States
Does Thinking Really Hard Burn More Calories?

Body Talk eZine

Did you ever have the feeling outside sources were controlling your life?  Do you harbor anger? Resentment?  Frustration?  Speaking for myself, I've let all of these rule my life at some point.  Therefore, in this short article, I thought we'd take a look at "Four Creative Spiritual Healing Methods."  From it, I hope you'll gain insight into yourself, your behaviors, and perhaps the way you deposit or withdraw from your health currency.

Step One: Understand Your Energy

You've heard an aura surrounds the body. So, what could this have to do with your health?  According to Caroline Myss in her audio program, "Why People Don't Heal," the energetic exchange that happens within this field is where our thoughts become translated into energy (or what she terms as one's biography becoming their biology).  Translation:  These cycles or waves of energy that surround our bodies are a function of our thoughts.  Thoughts are energy waves, then that affects our health positively or negatively.  Let's look a little closer to see why this happens.

The contributors to this energy surrounding the body are the seven major "chakras" (chakra in Sanskrit means "wheel or vortex").  It may help to note that Myss refers to each energy wheel as a "computer," one which collects and interprets information and "perceptions" the mind has about the world.  Scientifically, each of these seven wheels of energy corresponds to a particular endocrine gland in the body.  Translation: In light of the adage, "You are what you eat," we could conclude with some degree of certainty that "you are what you think."

Step Two:  Let Go Of Old Wounds

Now that you've been (hopefully) examining your thoughts and translating all of your negative energy into positive, Myss throws another curveball.  Would you agree with her that "healing is unattractive?" I needed some time to think about this.  Why in the world would healing be unattractive?

Answer (According to Myss): Our wounds give us power! And after careful contemplation, I've outlined three ways I have done this, myself.

Ask yourself:  Are you leading with your wounds?  You'll know if you've done any of the following:

1.) Used Wounds To Manipulate A Situation or a Person.

Let's say we find a situation unsavory, scary, or inflaming a personal "hot button."  Have you ever avoided a situation when you needed to face head-on?  Or, how about this: "I just can't get into this relationship—I have old wounds from previous relationships!"  Okay, maybe I am just speaking to myself, but I admit, I've used my wounds (more times than I care to admit) to refrain from loving unconditionally.

2.) Use Them to Attract Other Wounded Souls Who Want to Exchange in the "Wound" Game.

I've done this myself, too.  When listening to another share stories, I've given up compassion for wound ante: "I'll see you and raise you one."  There is a difference between healing from a wound and "leading with a wound," but I'd be willing to bet that we know the difference between being healthy and not.  For example, I know when I'm healthy when I can listen with empathy, void of getting out my toolbox to "fix" or laying out my wounds unsolicited.

3.) Give Up Our Ability to Listen.

Dr. Bernie Siegel, in his book "Peace, Love and Healing," basically says, listening is the work of angels.  Many times listening is all we have in a situation when someone calls on us for help.  If we express what Myss calls "woundology" or "leading with our wounds," we're saying that we can't stand the loss of power and desire all the attention for ourselves.

Since I'm laying out all my laundry here today (And what would Myss have to say for this?) here's an example of the way I've led with my wounds:  Recently someone confided in me about a situation where they had lost a loved one.  While listening attentively, my mind searched its experiences for a similar event.  All this so I could say, "Oh, that's terrible! Don't feel so bad, though, because I've been through this thing that is so much worse!"

To reclaim my character, however, (and after I realized what was happening), I caught myself.  In reality, all this person needed was my ear to listen unconditionally.

Step Three: Learn To Forgive Yourself and Others

The final two steps are remedies that can help heal our anger, resentment, and frustration.  Step three, then, is simply forgiveness.  To forgive in earnest takes our energy out of its emotional investment in the past.  We give up the need to spend wasted energy, making harmful deposits into this account and, to paraphrase Myss, is the fastest way to bring our energy into real-time.  Translation: Trust me, you'll know authentic forgiveness when you experience it.  The body literally "releases" the weight of the past.

Step Four: Love Yourself

The final creative step to healing?  Loving yourself, of course! Loving yourself is the most challenging concept, in my opinion.  Why?  To begin, we must start where we are and love and accept ourselves for who we are today.  How does this help our health?  It's simple, and when we realize that we are stunting our personal growth and health through negative self-talk, we can then begin to love ourselves one piece at a time.

Here's how it's done (Author's note: beware this practice may seem untraditional yet, if you'll consult Louise L. Hay's book: "You Can Heal Your Life," you'll find that this is one of the remedies she used to heal herself from cancer):

Every day spend 15 minutes in the mirror sending love to yourself!  Start small by finding one part of yourself where you can find perfection.  Each day or week, or month choose new parts of yourself to love.  Before long, you'll find an image of perfection before your eyes.  And you'll have purified your energy, to boot!

In closing, we could make all of these steps very simple, indeed, for there is only one step here that will make you healthy and happy.  Remember: it's when we've learned to love ourselves that we can truly heal.

Myss, Caroline, Ph.D. Why People Don't Heal.  Colorado, 2001.  Sounds True Audio.

Siegel, Bernie, M.D. Peace, Love, and Healing.  New York: Harper Collins. 1989. 

Hay, Louise L. You Can Heal Your Life.  California: Hay House. 2004.


Laura M. Turner, journalist, author and Certified Natural Health Practitioner is the creator of the Body Talk eZine: Nature's Anti-Aging Treasures Website. She invites you to join her "10 Years Younger" Campaign and to learn more about living younger, healing yourself and those you love with quality retail or wholesale Young Living essential oils and essential oil-based products. Visit today and begin a healthier tomorrow.

When was the last time you just enjoyed being in the present? I will guarantee you that 8 out of ten people would find it extremely difficult to be in the present. Reason is a no brainer. Right? Majority of the people are worried about things which are yet to happen in the future or worse ruminating about the past mistakes and failures.

Being in the present is a choice and you have to give yourself the permission first and then you have to pick up pockets of time during the day, where you can always be in the present. Believe me – getting worked up either about the future or the past is draining of precious emotional energy.

The worse part is that this will be happening in the background without you realizing this especially when you are supposed to be in the present. Working to be in the present is nothing but giving your 100 % to the things you are doing and not allowing your mind to wander around in any other direction.

Just like any other habit, start small and I will guarantee you that over a period of time, you can and will build on it.Some of the things which I do personally on a consistent basis to work on being present is

  1. Early morning run or yoga
  2. Workouts in the evening
  3. Post work out swim in the evening
  4. Reading a book during the day (sometime it can be even for 20-30 minutes)

So pick on something which you can easily do and take the first step today in the right direction.