Stretching is a well-known activity to keep your muscles flexible. Find out how many calories you burn while doing this.
While your actual results can vary, the average person will burn around 34 to 58 calories per 15 minutes of mild stretching.
Your body weight will be a big factor in what end of this range you are on. The 34 calories are the estimation for a 125-pound (56 kg) doing the 15 minutes of stretching.
On the other hand, the 58 calories are for a 215-pound (97 kg) person doing the stretching.
That aside, it should be clear that these numbers are relatively small. You should see these results more as a positive side effect on top of the regular benefits of stretching.
If you are serious about this goal, you likely want to turn to other exercises and activities.
I will also go over more in-depth estimations for different body weights and amounts of minutes, what influences how many calories you burn while stretching, and how to see just a bit more results in this area.
Biggest factors in calories burned with stretching
The number of calories you burn with an activity like stretching is hard to predict accurately. This makes balancing what you eat with the calories you burn somewhat more confusing.
That being said, you can still make these predictions about this stretching statistic a bit more accurate by taking into account what details influence your energy usage a lot.
Knowing what these details are can also help you make your stretching routine more effective in this area.
Some of the things that influence the number of calories burned with stretching a lot are:
- Weight: During the day you use energy to keep yourself alive and move around. Generally, the more you weigh, the more calories these things will require.
- Body composition: Even if two people weigh the same amount, the ratios of tissues can vary a lot. This is relevant because an amount of muscle typically burns more calories while stretching than the same weight in fat.
- Static vs dynamic: There are different ways to stretch. More dynamic stretching where you move a lot will burn more calories than static stretching where you stay in more or less the same pose.
Chart of stretching calorie-burning estimations
To estimate how many calories you burn while stretching you can use numbers called MET values. These are estimations (and sometimes measurements) of how intense a certain activity or workout is.
You can use these MET values in the formula below to get an idea of how many calories stretching burns.
Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
The exact MET for stretching can vary from source to source. That being said, one example is an MET of 2.3 for mild stretching (1).
You can find the results of using this MET and different body weights and time intervals in the table below.
As you may be able to tell, this MET formula is definitely not perfect either. There are a variety of details that actually influence how many calories you burn that are not included.
Besides that, you may find it easier to understand what these numbers mean in terms of lifestyle with a food example. One medium chocolate chip cookie contains around 148 calories (2).
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||2 calories||34 calories||68 calories||102 calories||136 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||3 calories||42 calories||84 calories||126 calories||168 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||3 calories||50 calories||101 calories||151 calories||201 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||4 calories||58 calories||117 calories||175 calories||234 calories|
Ways to burn more calories with stretching
As briefly mentioned, different stretching sessions can definitely still burn different amounts of calories. Even if the exact same individual performs them.
This is good news since it means you can modify your stretching sessions to make them burn more calories.
The first way to do this is by choosing dynamic stretching movements instead of static ones.
Secondly, you can make it so your body has to move or fuel more weight.
The main way to do this will be to build some muscle mass with resistance training workouts outside of your stretching sessions.
Lastly, while it is not the optimal way to burn more calories, spending more time stretching will also increase your energy consumption.
How long does it take to see results from stretching?
The number of calories you burn with stretching is not that big but you may wonder if it is enough to lead to things like weight loss.
It is true that stretching can help you lose weight to some extent but you need good habits in other lifestyle areas and the results from this activity alone will be small.
To make this clear, assume there is a 155-pound (70 kg) person who is currently at a weight loss plateau. The only change they will make is stretching more often.
If this person stretches 10 minutes a day, they will burn an extra 196 calories or about 0.06 pounds (0.03 kg) of body fat a week.
After implementing the same stretching routine for 30 days, this 155-pound (70 kg) would have burned an extra 840 calories or about 0.24 pounds (0.11 kg) of body fat.
These weight loss results would definitely not be that impressive but extra amounts are welcome anyway.
Is stretching good for burning calories?
By now it should be clear that stretching, with or without stretching equipment, is not that good for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
You should see these effects more as a nice bonus to the other benefits you can get from stretching.
If burning calories is your main goal, there are plenty of exercises and activities that will offer many times the results of stretching in the same time frame.