My friend Julie and I often pondered why we felt the need to eat throughout the day during our federal clerkship. Although we spent some exciting time in court, a lot of our time was also spent researching, writing, and thinking. We wondered if our bodies simply needed to use all of our senses - taste, smell etc. A new article sheds some light on this.
Basically, thinking burns more calories than relaxing. However, the calorie burn is minimal - thinking only burns about 3 extra calories in 45 minutes. The really bad news is that people are likely to eat a lot more when they are thinking and involved in intellectual activity. The researchers found the following:
The scientists noticed that even though the differences in calorie expenditure were minimal, those engaged in thinking work had much larger changes in blood glucose levels during and after the session. Glucose is the main fuel for the brain and thinking may increase the brain's requirements for fuel, leading to fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
The researchers guess that these fluctuations in blood sugar might trick the body into thinking it has burned more calories than it actually has, leading you to overeat.
This further emphasizes the need to exercise for those of us that are paid to think and use our brains all day.
On that note, I failed to blog a few weeks back that I reached 30,000 fitlinxx points at the Y. Mike and I have been in a race to see who can exercise the most (we make everything a competition). The YMCA has a great program where you get points for different activities. Generally, an hour long cardio workout may earn about 300 points. You also get points for doing weights on the weight equipment (points are based on machines used and total weight lifted). I am generally in a routine where I do an hour spin class 2-3 times a week, 45 minutes to an hour of pilates 1 time a week, yoga one time a week, weights 2 times a week, elliptical hiking 1 time a week and/or walking on the treadclimber.